Future still unclear for local businesses amid pandemic

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The future for West Michigan business owners is still unclear as many are still working to overcome the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. say there are more than 300 businesses within the area and all of them are affected by COVID-19. That’s why they say it’s important to remember there is still help available.

“At that point we were super, super dead in here. We were getting maybe 20 customers a day,” said Kristyn Heagberg, the manager of Biggby Coffee on Monroe Center Street SW. “As long as people are still working from home, we’re not really going to be seeing them here.”

Heagberg says although business has gotten better, times are still tough.

“We definitely saw business go down right when everything was shutting down,” said Heagberg.

Tim Kelly, the president and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., says restaurants are hit the hardest by the pandemic.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about when things are going to end and what things will look like as we go into the year,” said Kelly.

Kelly says although six businesses have closed since the pandemic, eight new ones have opened but most offices are still working remotely.

He wants those who do go to work in person to know there are financial resources.

“We all want to make sure that they’re successful and do what we can to support them,” said Kelly.

Heagberg says she will continue to advocate for those who need it the most.

“I feel like we are the heart of Grand Rapids right here,” said Heagberg.

More information about Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and how to help local businesses during this time can be found online

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