How the COVID pandemic has impacted Metro Detroit businesses

‘It’s scary. It is really scary’

How the COVID pandemic impacted Metro Detroit businesses
How the COVID pandemic impacted Metro Detroit businesses

DETROIT – In addition to the nearly 16,000 COVID-related deaths in Michigan over the last year, we know the pandemic has been devastating to businesses.

READ: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know March 11, 2021

But there are signs that the job market is slowly strengthening. The number of people seeing first-time unemployment benefits fell to 712,000 -- the lowest it’s been since November.

READ: US jobless claims fall to 712,000 as pace of layoffs eases

Still, 9.6 million jobs have been lost due to the pandemic.

There have been a few bright spots with some businesses seeing an uptick in businesses due to the pandemic.

Dimitri Polychronou owns Earl’s Dry Cleaning. His business took a hit almost immediately.

“Fortunately, my family still owns the building. We’re just going to keep the doors open and just try to keep people coming in. I’m hoping to survive this and ride it out,,” Polychronou said. “We’ve been here since 1975. I’m not shutting my doors that easily, but it is scary. It is really scary.”

In Walled Lake, Jerry Millen owns The Greenhouse. He said he’s been seeing a boom.

“Business has been great. People have been great to work with during this pandemic,” Millen said. “The sales have been doing very well.”

During the pandemic, drive-up sales were allowed and that’s something that business owners -- like Millen -- said is a game-changer.

The majority of locally-owned businesses have really struggled, but there is hope of things improving as vaccine distribution expands.

Know: Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine plan expands to 50+ with certain conditions: What to know

MORE: Reopening Michigan

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.