When I was in high school, my mother owned a clothing store in our small town, this was her hometown, we had spent summers there but my dad was in the Air Force so we always lived elsewhere until I was 14. At the time, I thought it was the coolest thing ever; “free” clothes, buying trips to Chicago, a job when I wanted one doing something I loved (fashion)… She owned it for about 5 years, after that time, my dad took a job back on the west coast and they relocated to California. So that era ended. As I look back, as an adult, with a degree in business and years of paying attention to the economy, I see how “indulgent” this was of my father. This was a VERY small town, about 3500 people at the time. My parents didn’t really have a “network” as we call it now and my mother didn’t have a head for business. No business plan, no long term or short term goals, no budget. But she was surrounding herself with something she loved (fashion) and meeting new people and making new friends. For her that is what is was all about. I’m sure Payne’s Boutique was never a financial success, but it gave my mother something that was hers, at a time when my father was gone quite a bit (finishing his college degree, so they could finish out their adult years comfortable in the world of civil service workers attached to the military they so loved in places they loved living.
So I have a great place in my heart for small businesses. This Covid-19 shut down (recently I heard this and how true: on the west coast it’s called Corona Virus, on the east coat it’s called Covid-19 and here in Michigan, it’s called “all that stuff that’s going on”) has me so concerned for small businesses here and everywhere. There are so many wonderful small businesses just in our town alone; The Kilwin’s Store for the best ice cream, hand-made fudge, made right on premises, lovely gifts and candles. Mark was able to get his mother a Mother’s Day gift from there on Saturday (thank you Carleen); Serendipity Clothing (beautiful clothing and jewelry) I saw they are doing online sales now. I’ll have to watch that one closely), Preferred Office Machines (It’s the ONLY place Mark will get his copies done), Roger’s Jewelers (everything from engagement rings to Vera Bradley), and the list goes on.
Our downtown restaurants are trying with takeout menus and specials. The Blue Cow Cafe has family specials each night, pick up a “grilled Atlantic salmon dinner for a family of 4 for $40 or Champagne Chicken full dinner for a family of 4 for $30…. Each night a different popular menu item, just watch their website or Facebook page. I just saw that Schuberg’s Bar and Grill is reopening tomorrow for takeout with most of their menu including their burgers, wonderful salads and my favorite Lobster Bisque or Seafood Chowder.
How long can they last though without foot traffic? How do you pay expenses? Even without your normal staff working, you still have rent/least, electricity, all the insurances and the price of your stock in your store… probably expenses I can’t even imagine.
And what about all of our hair salons and barber shops in town. None of them can be open, and not only that, they can’t PPE up and go do someone’s hair (except if you’re the mayor of Chicago), here in Michigan there are huge fines threatened and loss of licenses. These are businesses that can’t do ‘takeout’ or ‘online sales’.
And here’s the tough part, how do you weight keeping people safe and saving lives with the fate of small businesses (and even big businesses for that matter, I hear that our AMC Theater may not even open up again) and people’s lively hood, their financial futures with all this “stuff that’s going on” . It’s just a horrific reality, balancing all aspects of peoples lives… health, financial, mental… I”m just glad I’m not in the position to have to try to figure it out, that is a responsibility I do not want.
So, do what you can to support locals. Love on your family. Use common sense and think of others first. And watch more puppy videos on Facebook that political arguments, it’s better for the soul!