West Michigan celebrates New Year’s Eve ‘smart, safe, small’

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Party stores were booming with business on New Year’s Eve as COVID-19 has drastically changed celebrations.

The manager of Rishi’s International Beverage in Kentwood said New Year’s Eve is always a busy day, but even more so this year. He said he saw more people but smaller purchases.

“Everyone is kind of staying at home and so you’re seeing two or three bottles of champagne go out, a couple six packs of beer, versus seeing four or five kegs go out or cases of wine go out,” Rishi Makkar said. “Smaller transactions but a little bit higher volume.”

Shoppers buzzed in and out of the store throughout Thursday afternoon, stocking up for their own smaller-scale celebrations, whether it be with only family or a few friends.

“We’re just hanging out with a couple friends,” Reginald Kushion of Grand Rapids said. “Last year, we had a larger party, we went to a hotel with a big gathering, but this year is a lot different.”

Kushion and his friends chose to end the year on a positive note, embracing the changes as they come.

“I feel like it’s a lot safer (and) a little bit more fun to have just your close friends with you,” Howard Cooper said.

Another shopper, Maisce Xiong, was ringing in the new year with family.

“We just wanted to make sure that we still celebrate smart and safe and small,” Xiong said.

Everyone was looking forward to raising a glass to the end of this infamous year.

“2020 has been a rough year,” Cooper said. “I just got a flat tire today on the very last day of the year, ending it with a bang. So we want to really bring in the new year. It really marks the end of one year and the beginning of hopefully a really better year next year.”

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