Vermilion is beginning to reopen, including retail and service businesses - with dining, salons, massage businesses and more soon to follow. But don't expect grand reopenings or big celebrations. It's not business as usual.
“It won't feel like that,” said Marilou Suszko, coordinator of the Vermilion Business Connection and Executive Director of Main Street Vermilion. “Don't even expect everyone to be open. Please be patient and understanding of the slow pace this process will take.”
“Every business owner in town would love to throw their doors open and greet you with a hug or handshake, fill their tables and aisles and ring up sales,” said Suszko. “But this is something that we need to talk about.”
According to Suszko, here's why:
“Your favorite local business owners have spent 8 weeks learning to reinvent themselves, their spaces and the way that they sell. For many of them, it will feel a lot like a new business startup and all the pressures, expense and uncertainty it presents. They all want to get back to business, but they have to create a new experience for you, their customer. It has to feel right and safe. If a business is tactile (relies on touch), how do you still afford that experience to your customers? If scents and smells are a selling point, how does that work now that people wear masks? Cozy stores with tight aisles and intimate spaces have to rethink that. When the customer steps inside, do they instantly feel comfortable and safe? How do you make that happen? How does that feel?”
“It's not business as usual,” said Suszko. “They have to deal with the unusual and they are up for the challenge. And they need you to be patient. Continue to support them online, at the curb, take out and delivery.”
Suszko is encouraging Vermilion residents to have patience and to offer messages of encouragement while Vermilion business owners work on creating a new experience for you.
“It will be worth the wait in so many ways,” said Suszko.
The Vermilion Business Connection is a Main Street Vermilion program that provides a variety of opportunities for local business owners to learn, be more productive and collaborate with other businesses and organizations. Every business owner and staff members are welcome and encouraged to participate.