Chamber reports on the health of local businesses – C&G Newspapers

Local businesses

The Hawk in Farmington Hills recently hosted a State of the Cities event. An uptick in patronage has been reported at local businesses.

Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman speaks at a State of the Cities event March 10. Bowman recently said that local businesses are “starting to see more foot traffic.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — Farmington Hills City Councilman Ken Massey recently said that 32% of small businesses in Michigan were “killed” after being shut down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, nearly two years later, he believes things are on the upswing.

From Massey’s perspective, reports of a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases have made a difference.

“People starting to have less fear is causing businesses to improve, and that’s very clear, both from feedback I’ve gotten and just simple observation,” said Massey, who is also on the board of directors for the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce.

Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Arlin has also been hearing some positive news from local establishments.

Aside from that being a bright spot, the fact that this year’s State of the Cities event March 10, which included addresses by Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman and Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett, was held in-person also caught her attention.

“Last year’s presentation, the State of the Cities, was all virtual, and times were very uncertain,” Arlin said. “Now that we’re emerging from there it’s transitioning to excitement, enthusiasm and optimism.”

Arlin added that, “The businesses I’ve spoken to are beginning to experience an uptick in the patronage in their businesses.”

Mike Lucaj is the owner of the Grand Tavern in Farmington Hills.

He has noticed a big difference between this year and last.

“This is the time of year where, generally, my business picks up anyways, but I think people are a little less hesitant to stay home,” Lucaj said. “A year ago it was a disaster. It’s much better now. We’re almost back to normal.”

Bowman said it has been “so challenging” for businesses. She acknowledged losses that have been suffered, but she has also observed a positive trend.

“I can’t speak on behalf of all the businesses, but we are starting to see more foot traffic. Just visually, you see more people downtown now that the weather’s turned a little bit nicer,” Bowman said. “We’re almost at full capacity for our storefronts in downtown Farmington. … I think we’ve, hopefully, weathered the storm.”

Aside from being Farmington’s mayor, Bowman’s role with the Downtown Development Authority also helps put her in a position to make a positive difference for local business establishments.

“I sit on …….


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