Stay at home order leaving small businesses struggling

Erin Astfalk '21, Staff Writer

The fast spread of COVID-19 has left many unanticipated effects on our community. That may be closing our schools indefinitely, closing of restaurants or the need to social distance.
However, there is one effect that was unexpected and very detrimental: the suffering of our local businesses. Nail salon owner Thomas Olivieri has personally felt the impacts of new policies put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
“We just opened our new salon about four weeks before the virus really hit, looking back which wasn’t a great idea,” Olivieri said.
Olivieri and his wife recently opened a new salon in the village in the park, called Organic Nails, according to Olivieri.
“We have been planning our opening for months, and this is something that no one could have predicted,” Oliveri said.
Oliveri’s salon is completely run by him and his wife and focuses on healthy and natural salon treatments, according to Oliveri.
“My wife was really excited to introduce Grosse Pointe residents to the salon’s unique treatments, but the shutdowns have really prevented this,” Olivieri said.
The Olivieris are not the only locals to be financially affected by the shutdown. Many other small businesses are also struggling, according to business owner Helen Denys.
“My small shop, the Hoof n’ Woof, is kind of hidden behind Kercheval, so we don’t get a lot of foot traffic,” Denys said. “We rely a lot on local regulars, who haven’t been coming in recently.”
While it is important to keep supporting local businesses at this time, it’s a very difficult time for everyone, according to Denys.
“I mean obviously we’re hoping for some customers, but there’s so much panic going on everyone just doesn’t feel safe out and about,” Denysi said. “We understand how important it is to limit contact, but it leaves business owners in a very rough spot.”
Throughout this, it is important that everyone remembers to social distance, while maintaining loyalty to our local businesses when this is all over, according to long time Grosse Pointe resident Sally Wittwer.
“Up until the official shutdown, I tried my best to remember that shop owners are struggling,” Wittwer said. “When things go back to normal hopefully we can make up for lost business as a community.”
Since all nonessential businesses have been closed through the state lockdown, many small business owners must rely solely on savings.
“Our salon is so new that we don’t have a lot of regular customers that kept us afloat the couple of days leading up to the shut down,” Olivieri said. “And the fact that it is a nail salon doesn’t help.”
“I think it is important to remember that everyone is probably confused about what is safe and what is not,” Helen said. “It’s no one’s fault, no one could have anticipated this.”
Up until the governor lifts the stay at home order, all residents should respect this so commerce can return to our local businesses as quickly as possible, Witwer said.
“Right now, all we can really do is do our best to slow the spread, staying home as much as possible,” Wittwer said. “Hopefully when businesses open again we can all remember that they will need our support then most of all.”