Two years ago, businesses had to start changing the way they served their customers as COVID-19, and the restrictions that came along with it, arrived in Michigan.
Petoskey businesses have made a lot of changes since the pandemic arrived in Michigan, but not all of them were able to make it through and had to close. “We lost some in the very early, early stages and that had a lot to do with maybe how our business was already standing when those doors had to shutter for that amount of time before there was PPP funds,” said Nikki Devitt, president of the Petoskey Chamber of Commerce.
While most restrictions have been removed, it’s still not like it was before the pandemic for downtown businesses. “The type of stress we have has changed, but we’re still trying to figure it out day to day and make sure we’re meeting our customers where they want to be met, whether that’s online or Facebook or in the store in person or making a curbside delivery or whatever that is, it’s figuring it out every day,” said Jennifer Shorter, owner of several businesses in Petoskey.
The workforce shortage hasn’t completely disappeared and businesses will have to stay strong as summer approaches. “We know it’s going to be another tough summer as far as workforce goes, but we’re not hearing anybody say ‘well we just can’t do this’,” said Devitt. “If you made it through the past two years as a business owner, you can do anything.”