Small businesses plan for coronavirus impacts

Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 10:55 PM EDT
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Local business owners are feeling the hit as they watch Lansing's Home and Garden show pack up after it was cancelled on Thursday.

"Grief, just grief," said Kathy Stevens, the manager of Landscape Development. "It's a huge loss."

Kathy Stevens somberly tears down her grand display at the Home and Garden Show, with each piece a reminder of the financial and labor loss.

"It's many thousands, you're probably looking at $50,000 to $70,000 dollars that's sitting here," said Stevens.

This is just the start of the financial hit Landscape Development is gonna take, as local businesses depend on major events like an annual Home and Garden Show to get their spring and summer customers.

"We are not going to have the opportunity to have to talk to those people," said Stevens. "We invest a huge amount of money into this garden, it's devastating."

Hundreds of long-time local businesses were scheduled to fill the Home and Garden Show.

"I feel sorry for everybody, everybody's impacted by this, it hurts everybody," said Sue Ott, of Jolly Green Junction.

Michigan Premier Events Company couldn't agree more, they are having to drop more than 10 events just this week.

"We have numerous vendors involved, you have photographers, the AV, the catering so there are so many components when it comes to events," said Ashlee Willis, Founder of Michigan Premier events.

That's why as they see more cancellations in their future, they are looking at alternatives.

"There is teleconferencing, different facilitation methods, lessening the size and scope of the event those are sort of the thing that need to take place right now," said Willis.

As the Home and Garden vendors pack up their displays, their sense of defeat is turning into determination for what's next.

"We'll just work extra hard," said Ott. "We will never make this up again but we will get by."

"I don't know how this is going to impact our hiring or with our business model, but we are going to go on with business and with life," said Stevens.

To help out the vendors who are loosing business this weekend from the cancelled Home and Garden show, event organizers are putting up the full program online in hopes to generate some business from the public.

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