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Small businesses recovering after impact of COVID-19

Shops at Carson Block co-owner, Joe Schroeder says his business and others in Grand Rapids, Ohio had a better than expected summer after closures earlier this year.

GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio — COVID-19 has changed how many small businesses operate. From safety measures to trying out new ways to reach customers, businesses have had to adjust.

One business owner in Grand Rapids, Ohio, said business has not stopped.

"It has not been bad at all," Shops at Carson Block co-owner, Joe Schroeder said.

Some businesses on Front Street in downtown Grand Rapids are doing relatively well. Schroeder stressed his business and others lost tens of thousand of visitors when the annual Apple Butter Festival was cancelled. But people have been flocking from all over the area to shop.

"It's been steady," he said. "It's been enough to keep our doors open and keep most of all of the other businesses open."

Shoppers in town feel business is recovering well.

"I feel like at first it definitely wasn't doing too good," said Lavaya Bevier, who lives and shops in Grand Rapids. "But now I think it's doing good. I've been coming out and shopping all the time and I feel pretty safe being here."

Schroeder said it's been a rollercoaster year for his business, going back to when quarantine started and non-essential businesses like his were forced to close.

"Nerve-wracking that very first week after the governor closed schools, business instantly tanked," he said.

"I expected our whole town to be shut down for a while," Bevier added. "But it wasn't like that but I'm glad our businesses got to keep going and running."

But after reopening in May, customers have continued to pour in. Schroeder said he readjusted his budget after sales were better than expected. And customers say wearing masks and social distancing are becoming routine.

"I think people have definitely gotten used to it," Bevier said. "I know I have. It's just starting to feel like the new normal. I'm okay with it. It's just to practice safety and be as safe as we can."

Coming off his best year in 2019, Schroeder said he was excited for 2020. But now he's managing expectations this time around for next year.

"I'm not about to say that about 2021, so we'll let the chips fall where they may and in the meantime we're here continuing to do business and be there for those that want to visit," Schroeder said.

Schroeder hopes that festivals return next year and business returns to normal.

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