Local businesses impacted differently by COVID-19

Store+front+of+Stone+House

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Store front of Stone House

Emily Mears, staff writer

“It was a scary time for my family that our business was forced to be closed for seven weeks. During that time, a lot of things go through your mind: How are we going to pay our bills? How are we going to pay rent for the shop if it’s closed and I’m not generating any income? When will I be able to reopen? Should I find another job?” wondered Al Rossi, owner of Town and Country Barber Shop.

 

Many other business owners were asking themselves similar questions as COVID-19 broke out in Indiana, slowly getting closer to Delphi. All around the world, people and businesses are suffering from COVID. Some more than others. 

 

Locally, the majority of  Delphi’s local businesses were able to stay open with precautions. However, some businesses, such as Town and Country Barber Shop, were forced to close in March and couldn’t reopen again until  May. While the restaurants remained open for carryout, it wasn’t an easy adjustment. “I have had multiple, minor meltdowns, I think, on a weekly basis, since this whole thing started,” said Lisa Delaney, owner of Stone House Restaurant and Bakery. For her it was difficult to prepare, wondering whether people were going to be willing to come in and get carry-out. 

 

Other businesses such as the Flower Shoppe II may have lost as much as ⅓ of their profits. The timing of the shutdown hurt them because it occurred during one of their most profitable times of the year, prom season. However, funerals were still happening and even if only family members were attending a funeral, people still needed flowers. Overall, though, sales at the store were negatively impacted. Manager Debbie Smith summed it up: “You need groceries, you don’t need flowers.”

 

It’s true. People do need groceries, and one business that went above and beyond during the 6 weeks of the state mandated lock down is Wallmans. It would be no surprise to see that their profits have increased during the midst of the virus in March, April, and May. “There were almost more strange faces than there were familiar ones,” said owner John McKean. He stated that being independently owned was helpful through this because they were able to respond faster to the needs of those around them. Wallmanns had no troubles staying in business, but they did feel understaffed. “When sales increase, your employee number doesn’t change,” he said, and keeping up with the needs of the public was not easy. “I’m tired, but it’s just what you have to do,” said McKean, who has only had three days off since the outbreak.

 

All over, businesses are suffering (or thriving) because of COVID, reminding us it is now as important as ever to support  local businesses.