Mason Businesses Against the Pandemic

Delaney Murphy, Features Editor

Small businesses across America have struggled to stay open ever since COVID-19 first reared its ugly head. Some had to close temporarily to comply with health guidelines and others have had to shut their doors permanently because they have been financially unable to stay afloat. The situation is no less dire for small businesses here at home.

Debbie Shattuck, co-owner of the Maple Street Mall in downtown Mason, felt very unsure when businesses were first ordered to close many months ago.

“Being told to shut down was something no one would have imagined prior to March of 2020, and suddenly everyone is subject to new rules of commerce,” Shattuck said. “I was curious as to how long the shutdown would last, [and] nervous how it would affect our business and other small businesses in Mason, in Michigan, and across the U.S.”

Because of how the shutdown has affected small businesses, many Mason residents have been doing their best to buy from mid-Michigan stores to help keep them open.

“Since we’ve re-opened, I’ve been told by many customers of their intention to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses. I’ve heard that theme repeated more since June than in all the years we’ve been open combined,” Shattuck said.

Kendra Patterson, co-founder of Michigan Barnwood & Salvage, was worried about how the pandemic would impact the Michigan artisans that sell to the store.

“My main concern was taking care of the 75 families our businesses support. I needed to make sure their income was coming in,” Patterson said.

To support these families, the store has had to find new, safer ways to do business that they had not done prior to the pandemic.

“We got creative and started hosting Facebook live shopping videos and did curbside pick up and shipping to accommodate,” Patterson said.

Despite these strange new circumstances, Patterson, like Shattuck, has been grateful for the outpouring of love and support that her business has received from the community.

“Our customers have been so kind and understanding,” Patterson said. “Attitude makes a huge difference. We are very thankful to be so busy and our customers keep showing up to support us.”

The good news for many small businesses around Mason and across America is that things have started returning to normal. Soon enough, patrons will be able to walk through the doors of many of their favorite local stores and restaurants just like they did before the pandemic.

“We are excited to be here another year and know soon things will be back to normal. Until then, we are happy to work with guidelines and keep a positive outlook,” Patterson said.