The coronavirus pandemic hit many northern Michigan businesses, and it’s not expected to get any easier in the coming months.
Amanda Walton manages Toy Harbor in downtown Traverse City.
She says these last few months amid the coronavirus pandemic, have been filled with no shortage of ups and downs.
That’s why the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority created a relief fund to help businesses with expenses, like rent.
“I think for all the small businesses in downtown, our rent expense is the biggest expense we have and the landlords have been great, willing to work with everybody throughout the pandemic, but there’s only so much they can do,” said Walton.
The DDA also created several events to help fund the initiative and encourage downtown shopping.
Front Street has already seen several businesses close or move out and business owners hope this effort by the DDA helps prevent more closures or moves.
“There’s a lot of people that need help, and this is a fund that’s going to help these small businesses continue and what is a great downtown and Traverse City. We have our Shop Your Community Days coming up which is for a lot of nonprofits and if these businesses aren’t here, these nonprofits suffer,” said Bill Golden, owner of Golden Shoes.
Business owners say while the next few months may be difficult, any support from the community goes a long way.
“If you like the downtown vibe, the mixture of retail and restaurants, then come out, shop, donate, so that all of our small businesses can keep our doors open,” said Walton.