The governor’s order lasts until April 10 but some businesses worry that may be extended or that people won’t come out to shop once it is lifted. Tammy Wenderlich has been growing her Old Town business for two years.
“This was going to be the year we were going to generate income for ourselves as well as others,” Wenderlich said.
However, the owner of Collected Hands Studio said she has taken a huge step back.
“I feel like we were moving forward with all of that, and all of a sudden, it came to a screeching halt,” she said.
Coronavirus has left Old Town deserted. A closed sign hangs on every door and there are locks on each gate. It is weighing heavy on Wenderlich, as much of her inventory was from local artists.
“All of those people were relying on us to do our orders,” Wenderlich said. “I mean this is the time that businesses usually start to grow again in Old Town. I feel immense pressure to try to solve a problem that I am sharing with the entire world.”
At Blackbird Coffee House nearby, closures have forced owner Michelle Lameres to lay off all eight of her employees.
“It was one of the hardest things I have ever done but we had to,” Lameres said. “We couldn’t keep going to the way it was going.”
While Lameres believes Blackbird will survive, she cannot say the same for her husband’s business, Wild Hare Studio, which is a few doors down.
“We were talking about April 1,” Lameres said. “We may have to call our landlord and just negotiate closing the gallery altogether. When everything reopens, a gallery is the last thing on people’s list they want to spend money on.”
Wenderlich saved and could go about three months closed down before rethinking her business.
“We have to be quick on our feet and think about driving delivery or doing something else to bring income back in,” Wenderlich said. Those Old Town businesses closed down voluntarily last Monday due to coronavirus slowing down business.
Some of the businesses said they are considering moving to online options but are trying to save money for now.