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Today on Stateside, businesses across Michigan have succumbed to the pressures of the COVID-19 crisis, with devastating consequences for workers and our economy. A business owner and a behavioral scientist weigh in on why those who were sidelined still need help — and how the pandemic is shaping the state’s business ecosystem in the long term. Also, we meet a biologist whose team is collaborating with a colleague across 143 years.

restaurant closed sign
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Today on Stateside, they’re heeeeere! Host April Baer, noted cicada enthusiast, talks with an entomologist about once-in-17 years emergence of Brood X. Plus, how the new COVID surge in Michigan is affecting businesses and Michigan’s plans to handle the crisis.

Today on Stateside, a new cohort of Michiganders are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. We break down the logistical issues surrounding getting the shots. Plus, state lawmakers have banned the open carrying of weapons in Michigan’s Capitol building following the insurrection in Washington D.C.

Man holding newspaper in front of him
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Today on Stateside, playwright and Detroit native Michael R. Jackson talks about the meta-musical that earned him a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Plus, as many local newspapers close up shop, one family has kept the Minden City Herald in Michigan's Thumb running for more than 70 years. 

Downtown Ann Arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Starting Monday, Michigan’s restaurants and bars can reopen to dine-in customers at half capacity. Business districts have welcomed the news, but as customers return, there are also concerns about spreading COVID-19.

Traverse City recently voted to close two blocks downtown to vehicle traffic to allow for more outdoor seating. And last week, the Ann Arbor City Council passed its own plan for some downtown streets.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

As retail businesses re-open throughout Michigan, small business owners are being asked to walk a fine line:  Attracting as many customers as they can, while also enforcing new state and local rules meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We talked to two small business owners about how they’re navigating this new world. We also spoke to a number of grocery store workers from across the state, all of them union members in UFCW Local 951. 

Here’s what they had to say.

Jermale Eddie stands in Malamiah Juice Bar and Eatery
Courtesy of Jermale Eddie

Today on Stateside, how the state parks system is coping with the tidal wave of people desperate to get out of the house. Plus, restaurants and bars all around Michigan can restart dine-in service next week. We check in with a small business owner in Grand Rapids about reopening during COVID and protests over police brutality.

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Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

Jermale Eddie stands in Malamiah Juice Bar and Eatery
Courtesy of Jermale Eddie

Today on Stateside, we introduce you to a doctor with a very personal story about COVID-19. Plus, funeral director Thomas Lynch talks about what grieving means when you can’t come together.

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

three roast chickens
Courtesy of Essence Restaurant Group

Today on Stateside,  a conversation with Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about reopening the auto industry. Also, a check-in with a few more of Michigan's small businesses, including a barber shop in Ypsilanti that provides much more than haircuts. 

closed sign in business window
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

A survey by the Small Business Association of Michigan suggests one in seven of their members will go out of business because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The primary concern is the mandated closure of many businesses. It means zero income for many retailers and non-essential businesses.

sign that says sorry were closed
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Avalon International Breads has rapidly expanded its business over the past five years. The business was settling into its new growth when the novel coronavirus outbreak upended everything. Stateside spoke with owner Jackie Victor, who recently published a New York Times op-ed, about how hard it will be for her bakery to retool, even after receiving a federal emergency loan.

The Lansing capitol dome with a blue sky behind it and trees in front of it
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, protesters once again gathered at Michigan's Capitol to protest Governor Whitmer's stay at home order while lawmakers and the governor clashed over her emergency powers. Plus, one Detroit business owner talks about the challenges of making a federal small business loan work for her 100-plus employee bakery. 

Jermale Eddie stands in Malamiah Juice Bar and Eatery
Courtesy of Jermale Eddie

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended the stay at home order, but a loosening of certain restrictions will allow some businesses to reopen. We'll get an analysis of the latest development in the state leadership’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, the owner of a Grand Rapids juice bar talks about the hard pivot to home delivery, and the networks that might help black-owned business survive the shutdown. 

an empty bar
Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we check in with local businesses on how they’re dealing with the COVID-19 shutdown. Also, a look at how Muslims in Michigan are celebrating Ramadan during a markedly not-festive time. 

Money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s optimism more help will soon be available to small businesses trying to find ways to say solvent throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Senate has approved a nearly $500 billion coronavirus aid bill after Congress reached an agreement with President Donald Trump. The measure would replenish a small business rescue program, provide hospitals with another $75 billion, and implement a nationwide virus testing program to facilitate reopening the economy.

Dann Boyles and Chip Minor pose in front of Rebel
Courtesy of Dann Boyles

As Michigan's stay at home order stretches into its fourth week, many small businesses around the state are working hard to stay afloat. They are having to quickly pivot how they do business while also trying to figure out what kind of loans and grants may be available to help them through the shutdown. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Small businesses forced to shut their doors are trying to figure out how to last through what could be months of being closed. Businesses still operating are figuring out how to keep going. 'Main Street' Michigan is doing everything it can to survive COVID-19 isolation.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Small Michigan businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a helping hand this week from local and state government agencies.

boy sits at table writing something
Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, an Ann Arbor bookstore is racing to come up with a way to do business online after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close its storefront. Plus, Michigan’s Teacher of the Year gives advice on how to teach kids from home.

Literati Bookstore

For some small businesses, the COVID-19 shutdowns could be a death sentence. In order to survive, owners are having to quickly pivot to new ways of doing business.

a sign that says closed
Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, St. Patrick's Day arrives just in time to find bars and restaurants closed to revelers because of the coronavirus outbreak. What does that mean for the state's small businesses? Plus, we discuss the philanthropic efforts to meet Michiganders' needs during a prolonged period of social distancing.

Michigan Main Street Center

A report out Thursday morning from the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) finds that while immigrant make up only 6% of Michigan’s population, they make up 20% of the state’s so-called Main Street businesses.

Victoria Crouse, a State Policy Fellow for the MLPP, authored the report. She obtained most of her data from the American Community Survey’s 5-year data from 2016.

April Boyle and April Anderson
Joseph Linstroth / Michigan Radio

There is plenty of coverage about Detroit’s “comeback.” Stores and restaurants are opening, and downtown is more vibrant than its been in decades.

But the story of the city’s rise from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history often leaves out residents in the city's neighborhoods, who often aren't getting a chance to share in the prosperity.   

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Stateside's most recent stop in its "Artisans of Michigan" series brought us not too far from Kalamazoo, where we visited Paul Rutgers of Rutgers Wooden Spoon and Utensil Company.

Rutgers did not start out with a passion for carving spoons and ladles. He worked in construction, laying tile. Then the Great Recession hit and work dried up. Money was tight and he thought instead of buying gifts for family, he’d make some wooden spoons for them. They were a hit. His friends liked them and wanted Rutgers to them some spoons, too. 

Henry the Hatter's storefront
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A few weeks ago, news went out that rocked Detroit's small business community. Henry the Hatter, which claims to be the country's oldest hat shop, will close the doors of its downtown location after 124 years of business. But since the announcement, Henry the Hatter doesn't look like a struggling store. In fact, customers are packing in, some browsing, and others trying on their newly chosen hats.

Cass Collective Facebook photos

The Next Idea

So, you've got a small business. You've been selling your product at farmer's markets or art fairs, or maybe online.

But it's a great big step from that to having your own brick-and-mortar store. One way to help bridge that gap is happening in Midtown Detroit: the Cass Collective.

It's a new collaborative retail space where businesses rotate in and out so a budding entrepreneur can put a cautious toe in the water without a big commitment. The Cass Collective is a joint project of Midtown Detroit Inc. and TechTown Detroit.

user Werwin15 / Creative Commons

One of the largest hubs for artists in the Midwest may soon be abandoned, at least temporarily, after Detroit's Building Department ordered all tenants in the Russell Industrial Center to immediately vacate the premises, due to building code violations.

Jimi Custer owns a video production company, The Afterhours Network, that operates out of the Center, as well as Channel 313.tv.

He says the notice was a complete surprise.

"I came to my work today and all of a sudden I can't do my business," says Custer.  "Now I've got to figure out where I'm going to relocate."

The realities of a world economy aren't just being felt at big companies like General Motors or Ford. Small businesses are feeling the strain of foreign competition.
earl53 / Morguefile

The Next Idea

The realities of a world economy aren't just being felt at big companies like General Motors or Ford. Small businesses are feeling the strain of foreign competition.

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is directing a federal program aimed at helping small local businesses adjust to that foreign competition.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The threat of hackers grew in 2016 for many Michigan businesses.

So-called "ransom-ware" attacks also became more common. 

In one example, the Lansing Board of Water & Light paid a $25,000 ransom after a hacker got into the utility’s internal communications system. 

Zara Smith is with the Michigan Small Business Development Center.  

Her group has been changing its approach as the cyber threats have grown and evolved.

“So that again we can reach as many as possible businesses and help them not be the next victim,” says Smith. 

Courtesy Photo / Hoekstra True Value Hardware

People are flocking to a family owned hardware store that’s become a staple in Kalamazoo.

Hoekstra’s True Value Hardware is closing after nearly 150 years in business.

Co-owner Phil Ippel says he’s looking forward to more golfing, traveling and volunteering in the community. He’s even got a river cruise booked for next year.

“It’ll be a few months here, some hard work to get it down where we can do that,” he chuckled.  

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