Pandemic, health of small business top of mind for SBAM's Calley - Crain's Detroit Business

Pandemic, health of small business top of mind for SBAM's Calley - Crain's Detroit Business


Pandemic, health of small business top of mind for SBAM's Calley - Crain's Detroit Business

Posted: 21 Nov 2020 09:04 PM PST

Small Business Association of Michigan: After serving as Michigan's lieutenant governor under Gov. Rick Snyder from 2011 to 2019, Detroit native Brian Calley joined the Small Business Association of Michigan as president because of the organization's reputation and a mission that inspires him every day. Calley, 43, began his career as a banker and says his professional life and career have always intertwined with small businesses. The small business landscape has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Prior to joining SBAM, you served as Michigan's lieutenant governor. How did you come to join SBAM?

(Small business) is in my blood. After leaving office there are a number of directions I considered going. SBAM gives me the opportunity to be very engaged in the public policy arena, without the political environment dominating every waking moment of my life. It is a 51-year-old organization with an A-plus team behind it.

What exactly does SBAM do for small businesses?

SBAM provides extensive services to small businesses of all types. We have over 28,000 members and continue to grow. Our core services include best practice and compliance education, group purchasing, state and federal advocacy, political candidate vetting and endorsements, energy efficiency services, association management and lobbying, and COBRA administration and insurance. Our services to our members evolve with the needs and demands of our members.

How, if it has, has SBAM's role changed since the pandemic hit?

Everything about how we operate and serve our members has been impacted by the pandemic. Our workforce has been, and remains, mostly remote. The emphasis on small business advocacy and compliance education has become more prevalent than ever before. Our team of 27 is hardworking, smart, experienced and nimble. Our goal is to help small businesses anticipate and prepare for a dynamic and constantly changing environment. Our members have never needed us more, and the SBAM team has been up for the challenge.

With the election now behind us, what does the result mean for small businesses going forward?

Anytime that leadership in political offices changes, there is a period of uncertainty. But SBAM is a strategically bipartisan organization. We see the value and necessity of maintaining strong working relationships across the political aisle for the benefit of our members. I am confident that we will continue to have a voice at the table at the highest levels of government.

The $100 million in CARES Act funding is close to exhausted. How important is it for a new federal stimulus plan for small businesses in Michigan? Is there anything else that can be done? Is there anything else in the works?

The economy is stronger right now than most people would have guessed it would be six months ago. But extraordinary challenges and risks remain. For the hardest hit industries, we believe an additional round of Paycheck Protection Program-style support from the federal government will be necessary — especially for those businesses still operating under operational capacity restrictions. Additionally, it is important that the next federal stimulus package reverse the IRS decision to not allow deductibility of expenses paid for by PPP proceeds.

Gov. Whitmer put in a new, modified stay-at-home order that took effect Nov. 18. How will this round of closures affect small businesses and why do you think some businesses were able to remain open after having to close in March?

The financial health of businesses is highly tied to what industry they operate in. Manufacturing, construction and large retailers are doing pretty well. But most restaurants, hospitality businesses, entertainment venues, sports-focused enterprises and certain service sectors are all facing catastrophic failure through no fault of their own. The main difference between now and March is that there are no federal funds and many of these businesses are already severely weakened from long-term closures and restrictions imposed over the spring and through the summer.

Based on what you've heard, are business owners worried about having to close for good due to a slowdown in traffic?

The experience of small businesses during the pandemic is highly correlated with industry. There are many types of professional services that are operating at levels similar to, or even exceeding, pre-pandemic levels. Most sectors within manufacturing seem to have recovered nicely. But many, perhaps most is a better description, businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industries are in critical condition. Additionally, there are several sectors that face extraordinary challenges in the future because of the changes that could endure beyond the widespread distribution of an effective vaccine. Commercial real estate, brick and mortar retail, dry cleaners, restaurants that rely on office worker foot traffic. Some things won't go back (to normal) because of the new operating models that are being developed today. This era will reshuffle the deck in many ways. There will be big winners who are well positioned to adapt to, or even drive the change, but there will also be many who lose everything.

What worries business leaders most about the current surge in COVID-19 cases?

The surge in cases adds so much more uncertainty to the picture. Will we be able to remain open? What actions will government take? How will employees respond? Will employees have access to child care? When you ask a struggling small business owner if they believe they will be able to survive through this pandemic, the answer is often "tell me how long it will last and I'll tell you if I can survive."

How much help will sales during the holiday season provide small business owners in terms of cash flow to help them through what is traditionally a slow time following the Christmas holiday?

For retailers and restaurants near major retailers, the holiday season makes or breaks the year. As purchasing habits change, even a strong overall holiday season for retail could be catastrophic for local businesses if consumers are not intentional about keeping their business local.

How long do you plan to stay with SBAM?

You should expect to be able to reach me at SBAM for a long time.

These Are The Worst Passwords Of 2020…And Other Small Business Tech News - Forbes

Posted: 22 Nov 2020 04:00 AM PST

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them? 

1 —These are the worst passwords of 2020.      

Digital security company NordPass released data this past week indicating what the company considered to be the worst passwords of the past year based on how often the passwords were used, how quickly they were able to be figured out, and how often they had been exposed. The company also compared the worst passwords from the previous year as compared to this year in order to analyze how their ranks have changed. The top three worst passwords—according to the data— were 123456, 123456789, and picture 1, to name a few. (Source: NordPass)

Why this is important for your business:

You've been reading – and I've been reporting – on the significant rise in malware, like ransomware, over the past few years. Many small businesses have been affected and some so seriously that they were put out of business. There are ways to reduce your exposure but one of the simplest is having your employees use better, and different, passwords. I recently signed up with a password manager and have been making the effort to change every password to something much stronger while keeping them all unique. I'll be asking my employees to do the same. You should too. Steps like this will save your business the disruptive costs of being hacked.

2 — Consumers' preference for online car sales and auto loans shakes up banks and dealers.

Recent research from J.D. Power has revealed that more bank customers are completing their credit applications online when purchasing cars. While the switch to digital was slowly on the rise the coronavirus pandemic— according to the research, —is what sped up the trend to reach the heights that it has during the last several months. The research also indicated that it is unlikely that those who had a positive digital financing experience will go back to face-to-face financing once the pandemic ends. Banks have also revealed that they are happier with the confidentiality and speed that online loans provide, while the digital process also makes loan collection and servicing simpler. (Source: Pymnts

Why this is important for your business:

Banks and financing companies – like many other industries – were pushed into accelerating their online initiatives thanks to Covid and it's one of the long term benefits that many consumers and small businesses will realize because of the pandemic. What interactions with your customers can you make more digital?

MORE FOR YOU

3 —Apple announced their app store business program.

Apple announced that they are rolling out The App Store Small Business Program, set to launch on the first of the year. The new program will work to benefit developers selling services and digital items through the app store by lessening commission by 15% if they are able to make at least $1 million in proceeds during the prior year. (Source: Apple)

Why this is important for your business:

The company says that with the pandemic bringing about new challenges and a heightened focus on the importance of apps due to companies learning to operate in a digital world, the reduced commission will free up resources for entrepreneurs and developers to grow and invest in their businesses.

4 — Google's new Small Business Advisors Program aims to help SMBs grow.   

Google has rolled out a beta-version of their new program for small businesses—known as Small Business Advisors—that will assist in helping businesses in their marketing strategy on the search engine platform. Small Business Advisors will provide 50-minute sessions that will focus on personalized consulting from Analytics, YouTube, Ads, and Google My Business. The new program will be available to small businesses who operate in the U.S. and already have an open and active Google account. (Source: Search Engine Land)

Why this is important for your business:

I have questions. Can this program assure us that our ads won't be overshadowed by bigger brands spending millions of dollars? What more can Google be doing to create a level playing for small businesses and their larger, corporate competitors? Also, an advisor is fine, but what can be done to help small businesses actually implement the advice? Perhaps you have the same concerns.

5— Construction tech startups are poised to shake up a $1.3 trillion-dollar industry.

There continues to be a rise in tech startups focusing on construction due to the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Construction companies have experienced particularly difficult obstacles, with many construction projects and sites throughout the country at a standstill through the height of the many shutdowns. While heated debates as to whether or not construction workers should be categorized as essential workers raged on, tech startups got to work and started tackling problems brought on by COVID-19. These startups are focusing on construction categories such as project conception, designing, and engineering. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

According to the TechCrunch piece, design software such as Spacemaker AI can help developers create site proposals, while construction loan financing software such as Built Technologies and Rabbet are helping developers manage the draw process in a more efficient manner. There are many others mentioned in this article, which is a worthwhile read for anyone running a construction business.

Delaware Black Chamber, Small Business Division assist applicants seeking state relief grants - delawarebusinessnow.com

Posted: 22 Nov 2020 12:39 AM PST

More small businesses can get help in applying for DE Relief Grants through a new relationship between the Delaware Division of Small Business (DSB) and the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce (DEBCC).

The deadline for grants is Dec. 4.

The two organizations have formed a partnership under which the Chamber will assist small businesses in applying for DE Relief Grants, a key economic relief program administered by the Small Business Division.

"We are thrilled to announce this partnership," said Ayanna Khan, DEBCC CEO. "Our goal is to increase the number of minority-owned businesses applying and approved for DE Relief Grants. This will advance the Chamber's mission to serve the needs of minority-owned businesses across Delaware, provide economic opportunity and support to business owners as well as to the communities they serve."

As of Nov. 12, 1,904 applicants had accepted and/or been approved for more than $61 million in grants, with requests for another $31.2 million undergoing the review process.

The median grant award has been a little more than $20,000. The typical recipient had a median annual 2019 gross revenue of just under $500,000.

"DE Relief Grants have been a source of vital financial assistance to Delaware small business owners," said Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano. "The Division's partnership with the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce will ensure that more small businesses, particularly those we know have been hit hardest by COVID-19, such as minority-owned firms and microenterprises, have access to the assistance they need to secure the most relief funding possible."

DE Relief Grants are a joint effort between the state of Delaware and New Castle County.Under the rules of the federal CARES Act, from which the program money comes, the State and County must use available funds by Dec. 31.

Applications for the current round of grants are due by December 4, which provides time for all applications to be reviewed and funds to be dispersed before the end of the year.

Information about DE Relief Grants can be found atdelbiz.com/relief, including anextensive Q&A document, demonstration videos, and a full explanation ofeligible expenses.

Business owners interested in assistance from the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce can email the Chamber at email@debcc.org or call (302) 709-1708.

Time running out for small-business relief grants - Albuquerque Journal

Posted: 21 Nov 2020 11:02 PM PST

Jaclyn Behringer, general manager at the Santa Fe Climbing Center, sits at the front desk of the empty climbing gym. The business received a grant through the city from the CARES Act. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Almost immediately, the COVID-19 pandemic began wreaking havoc on local businesses in Santa Fe, due in part to state-mandated restrictions or more residents choosing to stay at home for their own safety.

Hundreds lost their jobs and 88 businesses in Santa Fe shut their doors for good in the first five months of the pandemic.

................................................................

And despite the economic packages made available to small businesses, local governments have spent only a tiny portion of economic relief money so far, leaving them less than six weeks to spend the rest.

Now – as cases and shutdowns skyrocket statewide – local businesses have the chance to stop some of the financial bleeding, even if only temporarily.

In September, the city of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County and town of Edgewood were jointly awarded $3.6 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding by the state to distribute as grants to struggling local businesses. Dozens have applied so far.

Through the program, titled Small Business and Nonprofit Stabilization Program businesses within Santa Fe County can now apply for a maximum of $15,000 in relief grants. Many already have.

Alex Fitzgerald, an economic development specialist for the county, said the city and county have systems in place to prioritize which businesses receive grants should applications exceed current funding.

However, he also said officials are not really concerned about that happening. In fact, there's greater concern that not all of the $3.6 million will be spent in time.

Similar to other CARES Act funds received by local governments, the small-business grants are subject to a Dec. 30 deadline, after which no more can be distributed. Fitzgerald said they've distributed $400,000 to 26 businesses in the area thus far. Most received the full $15,000 as part of that grant.

With less than six weeks remaining and only 11% of the funds allocated to businesses, it's unknown how much will go left unspent by the end of the year.

"We're in the middle of it right now," Fitzgerald said, adding they still have another 60 applications to sort through.

Fitzgerald and Liz Camacho, who works for the city's Office of Economic Development, said the primary difficulty has been making more businesses aware of the grants and that not enough have been applying.

"It's very much a real concern for us," Fitzgerald said of not meeting the deadline.

With the state recently adding more restrictions and shutdowns on certain businesses, there's a belief that more money will be allocated in the coming weeks, he said.

The grants are not available to every business that applies. They must have fewer than 50 employees, an annual revenue less than $2 million and a year-to-year revenue loss of at least 25%.

All those requirements demand extensive amounts of paperwork and records in each application, a not insignificant task for many.

Kim Brown, president of local nonprofit Girl's Inc. of Santa Fe, is no stranger to applying for grants, which often requires a lot of work.

"I don't think any grant process is typically user-friendly," she said. "That was definitely complicated, but not unusually complicated."

In order to ease the application process, officials have started hosting twice-a-week webinars – one in English, the other in Spanish – to answer questions from small-business owners.

Girl's Inc. of Santa Fe, which provides mentoring and educational opportunities for young girls in the area, has seen its revenue decline by $100,000 since the start of the pandemic, as events such as summer camp had to be postponed.

Brown said the $15,000 in CARES Act funding they received, while not a long-term solution, will mostly go toward retaining staff members.

"It's a kind of drop in the bucket … but I am glad it's going to small businesses," she said.

Even a relatively small amount of $15,000 can go a long way in helping a business.

Andre Wiltenberg, owner of the Santa Fe Climbing Center, poses in his empty climbing gym. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Andre Wiltenburg, owner of Santa Fe Climbing Center, said his business received the full $15,000 they applied for and will use it on his employees' salaries.

"This money is basically already spent," he said in a deadpan chuckle.

Like many businesses, Wiltenburg's had to shut down completely during the governor's most recent stay-at-home order. He said membership dues and virtual classes have helped during the pandemic, but that not having anyone in the climbing gym does hurt revenues.

Bottles of sanitizer are spread around the Santa Fe Climbing Center. While it was open, climbers had to disinfect their hands and shoes before using the wall. The climbing gym is currently closed to the public. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

"All the loans have been spent … but we're still struggling," he said, adding he's hoping more loans or grants will be allotted to small businesses.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced plans for a special legislative session to take place this week, during which legislators are expected to provide some sort of financial relief for businesses struggling across the state.

Small business owners in Michigan worry that 'pause' could be death knell - Crain's Detroit Business

Posted: 21 Nov 2020 09:15 PM PST

All Paul Glantz wants for Christmas is his business back.

That's at the top of the wish list for owners of movie theaters, bowling alleys, entertainment venues and dine-in restaurants in Michigan forced to close again right at the start of the busy holiday season.

Worries abound that the "three-week pause," imposed by the state to beat back a surge of COVID-19 cases, could extend through the holidays and sound the death knell for many struggling small businesses.

Glantz, chairman of Troy-based Emagine Entertainment Inc., said revenue loss for his chain of 21 movie theaters has topped $40 million since the pandemic started in March. Theaters were closed for more than half a year before being allowed to reopen Oct. 9, while the ban on dining in lifted June 8.

"To put us out of business again, I believe, is unjust and wrongful," Glantz said. "I question whether our governor ever has studied actual science or data."

It is not the shutdown orders alone that crushed "dinner and a movie" and other conventional entertainment options — the general fear of the coronavirus has led to more reclusive lifestyles. Even in the short time open, Emagine was still losing money. Glantz said business suffered from a lack of new product from Hollywood and a hesitation among guests to return.

But at least it was still doing some business, he said, and now its back to pure cash bleed.

Glantz's frustrations are shared by others who question the actions of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration. An order allowing malls to stay open but not bowling alleys, for example, feels arbitrary to those it hurts.

Glantz, who said there is no evidence of COVID-19 spread in movie theaters, sued Whitmer unsuccessfully over the summer. He said he is contemplating filing another lawsuit in response to the new order, as the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association did last week.

"Realistically, the reason that movie theaters were the last to open is because we were the last to withdraw our lawsuit," Glantz said. "Our governor is by nature vindictive, so it doesn't surprise me that she's taking out retribution on my industry again for our temerity."

Whitmer's press secretary Tiffany Brown told Crain's in a text message that the governor continues urging the federal government for more assistance to help small businesses and unemployed workers.

"Governor Whitmer will continue to use every tool in her toolbox to protect Michigan families from COVID-19," Brown said. "These actions, which have been recommended by public health experts, protect the medical workers, first responders, and other essential workers putting their lives on the line to protect us. We need help from the federal government and a fourth stimulus to be passed that can support our small businesses and local restaurants and movie theaters that are struggling across the country."

As of Nov. 12, there were 21 coronavirus outbreaks tied to bars and restaurants in Michigan and none associated with movie theaters or bowling alleys, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The department does not track the number of cases in each outbreak. It cautions that the "absence of identified outbreaks in a particular setting in no way provides evidence that, in fact, that setting is not having outbreaks."

Emagine's employee count has gone from around 1,200 to 200. The company received $1.7 million in federal PPP loan assistance, and Glantz said he hopes 60 percent of it will be forgiven. He said as business stands now, he has the cash reserves to make it through the first quarter of next year. That's not the case for others.

Waterford Lanes is likely to go under if it stays closed this winter, said Michele Craft, who owns the bowling alley with her husband D.C. The couple spent their life savings reviving their business after the original location burned down in 2012, investing around $500,000 into the alley since.

Just in the past few months, the Crafts said they have spent thousands of dollars on plexiglass barriers, hand sanitizer stations, disinfectant fogging machines and food and beverage to restock the bar. Sales are down by 50 percent from the same time last year. The couple received a PPP loan of an undisclosed amount and used it for utilities and payroll.

"We're gonna have to stop the bleeding," she said. "If we go past the busy season and into the spring, we're gonna have to liquidate, we're gonna have to close our doors and we're gonna have to move on, and probably out of the state of Michigan. I can't live in a state where there's a war on business."

The same financial pain is felt at Imperial Lanes in Clinton Township. Co-owner Joe Biondo said he is "very frustrated" with the new order and that based on the March shutdown order, he believes Whitmer will extend the current order past the stated three-week timeline.

"That's what we're worried about," Biondo said. "Are COVID cases going to go down dramatically enough? Probably not. If people don't bowl, they don't pay."

Biondo estimates his 80-lane alley will lose about $150,000 over the course of the new three-week shutdown. Its 45 employees will be out of work. Biondo received a PPP loan of $150,000-$300,000 in April, according to Small Business Association data. He said he used the funds to pay five or six full-time employees, along with rent, utility bills and insurance.

With 80 lanes, Imperial is one of the larger bowling alleys in the area. Upon reopening in September, Biondo noted about 40 percent of league bowlers did not return. Money from the leagues make up about a third of the bowling alley's revenue, Biondo said.

"Not only are we losing bowlers, we're losing potential revenue from food and the bar," Biondo said. "If this only lasts the three weeks, everybody will come back. If it stretches longer than that, I don't know."

Entertainment venues have been hit especially hard during the pandemic.

The Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale has become a popular entertainment venue since opening in 2006, but pandemic and its fallout has led to the theater and its players opting to leave their home on Woodward Avenue.

The Ringwald's lease expires at the end of this month. Its landlord presented the group, led by art director Joe Bailey, with a new one-year lease option that included a $100 per month rent increase. The increase, which would put the payment at $3,300 a month, was noted in paperwork signed in 2019, but Bailey hoped the landlord would consider the current climate and eliminate the increase. Instead, theater leaders voted to close that location and seek a new home.

Bailey estimates the theater group has lost $150,000 since shutting down in March,but has paid its rent and utility bills on time. It has had two virtual productions that were well attended, Bailey said, and a third is set to begin Dec. 4. The Ringwald does not have a paid staff; performers are paid on a per-project basis. Pay often depends on the success of a particular show, Bailey said.

"When we initially closed back in March, we thought it'd be a couple of weeks or a month. Eight months later, there's no sign when we'll be able to get back at it at the capacity that's needed for us to survive," Bailey said of the 70-seat venue that has been home to the theater group for 14 years. "Once we sat down and started to really talk about the ramifications of it, it sort of made sense to not continue in this space."

Bailey called the state's decision to shut down some businesses again an emotional one.

Officials in one metro Detroit downtown are looking for ways to help affected businesses.

Greater Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Kemp said she's talked with Oakland County officials about the prospect of installing outdoor, semi-permanent structures in the area for dining and socializing, similar to a program implemented in downtown Northville.

"We're all trying to work together right now," Kemp said."We're all trying to figure things out. I know the retail order was maybe not totally clear, but we're trying to keep everybody safe. Of course the restaurants are worried. Hopefully (the order) isn't in place too long."

The city's downtown is dotted with empty storefronts, some related to the pandemic, some for other reasons. The current vacancy rate was not available.

"Our numbers are better than others. It's not the perfect atmosphere, but it could be worse," Kemp said.

Town Tavern, part of the Roberts Restaurant Group, closed in May, citing COVID-19 issues. A new casual American fare bar and restaurant called The Side Bar was recently approved to open there.

HopCat in May said it would permanently close its Royal Oak location after negotiations with its landlord fell through. The restaurant/bar's Grand Rapids-based parent company later filed for bankruptcy protection and was sold.

Garden City native Jared Gadbaw moved to New York 18 years ago for culinary school with the goal of returning to Michigan to start a restaurant.

His new spot, Oak and Reel, opened in September after a four-month delay due to the pandemic. Gadbaw, 41, said business was solid despite the limitations on capacity. He said running the business, at 2921 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit's Milwaukee Junction area, has not come without its issues. Some employees have missed work either due to contracting COVID-19 or facing symptoms.

Gadbaw said he understands the need for the order, but he's still disappointed.

"As far as numbers go, restaurants are responsible for less than 5 percent of positive cases," said Gadbaw, whose restaurant offers Italian dishes with a focus on seafood. "Sometimes it feels like restaurants are used as the scapegoats. As a restaurant owner, chef and employer, to have to lay everybody off during the holiday season is tough."

If the order lasts only the three weeks, Gadbaw stands to lose between $120,000 and $160,000. He's hopeful that's the extent of the order, if for no other reason than to put his employees back to work.

"... To provide income for the people who depend on me. (The weekly unemployment payments) don't go far when you have kids to feed and bills to pay. I understand (the order) might go longer than three weeks, in which case, I don't have any answers. This is my entire life's work."

Two Detroit restaurants, Cutter's Bar & Grill in Eastern Market and Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails on East Jefferson Avenue, were finding momentum and just about to expand their hours when word of the second dine-in lockdown came.

Owner Chuck Nolen kept Cutter's closed through the first approximately six months of the pandemic, opening for dine-in service three days a week on Sept. 11. With half-capacity restrictions and a dearth of staff generally available for restaurant work, many have shortened their serving hours during the outbreak.

"We were going to expand and add a couple days, but this just set us back again," Nolen said. He's heading into his busiest time of the year for gatherings and holiday parties. Also, in a normal year, bars would be prepping for the evening before Thanksgiving, often dubbed the biggest bar night of the year.

So now, instead he's pivoting to carryout and planning to start selling cocktails to-go out of specially designated pouches and mason jars.

Nolen had a staff of 21 before the pandemic, then went down to eight to 10 this fall and expects to run carryout with three or four employees. He estimates he was doing 30 percent-35 percent of normal sales under restaurant capacity restrictions.

"(Carryout) is better than us being closed 100 percent," he said. "Hopefully it will allow us to still generate some revenue, because as you know the bills still come."

Nolen said he's worried about sales, but "we'll get through." He also worries about the lack of a second federal stimulus package for individuals and businesses.

He said he is down a ballpark $500,000 in revenue from last year. He was approved for a PPP loan, as well as various other funding like from the Wayne County/TCF loan program. He declined to disclose how much aid he received.

Nya Marshall, owner of Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails, was also planning to add to her limited dine-in service before the state's new order came down. With revenue down 54 percent and lack of staff limiting her open hours, she said she was finally building the momentum and the cohesive team to add Sunday dinner to the roster starting this weekend. Ivy was previously open Thursday-Saturday and just for brunch on Sunday, with 22 employees. She'll need to furlough most of them.

Marshall added that she resolutely supports the state health department's decision and the need to stem the spread of COVID-19. But she's also stuck with thousands of dollars in food inventory after raising $15,000 in a crowdfunding campaign, 90 percent of which was spent on inventory to sell.

"(The order) shocked me, quite honestly … because Wayne County numbers aren't seriously high," Marshall said. "I was shocked to learn that day spas and the mall and retail were able to remain open ..."

There's no escaping the coronavirus. Just ask Jim and Julie Welch, whose Northville-based luxury travel business Amaze Travel was grounded when the pandemic hit. Nearly all of its bookings were international, and all of them evaporated.

"Due to travelers' fears of covid plus the fact that Americans were barred from entering so many countries, we have not had travelers (since) March," Jim Welch said in an email.

The business, launched in 2014, was anticipating a record year with more than $3 million in revenue. Instead, it was a year of refunds and damage control.

Welch said there's reason to be optimistic about next year, though. Amaze Travel caters to a niche of wealthy tourists, and throughout the pandemic, the rich have largely remained rich.

"Clients have tremendous pent-up interest and desires to travel," Welch said.

Amaze Travel has done more than 75 percent of its typical sales as of mid-November as clients target mid- to late 2021 for trips. The average cost per trip has soared from around $20,000 to $40,000.

"Clients are splurging a bit more than usual since they didn't travel or spend as they usually would have in 2020," Welch said.

Christmas Day is one of the busiest for movie theaters and typically the launch date for blockbuster films. Despite the drought of new movies, "Wonder Woman 1984" is still scheduled to be released during the holidays.

Being able to welcome even just a few people to watch it in theaters would raise Glantz's spirits, but he isn't optimistic.

"This will be prolonged," he said. "We will not be open before Christmas. It's very clear ... (Whitmer) will prolong the agony."

Movie theater chains across the country are in dire straits. Kansas City-based AMC Theatres said it might run out of cash by the end of the year. Miami-based CMX Cinemas filed for bankruptcy in April. Missouri-based B&B Theatres said it is close to doing the same.

"Let's put it this way, my trade association is hosting seminars now on bankruptcy," Glantz said laughing. "It's like gallows humor, right."

As for the Ringwald Theatre, the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce has urged Bailey to keep the performing arts institution in the city. Bailey said Hazel Park officials have also expressed interest in welcoming the group to the area.

"Right now, we still don't have any idea of when it might be feasible to open a performance space," Bailey said. "We're looking at this like we've been afforded the gift of time to find what's exactly the right fit for us. So as soon as we can safely do that, we'll get back to making magic for people to see."

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