By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville-Kim Hill’s mantra is simple.
“We say welcome back, come and see us, we’re ready for you,” said Hill of Hill Floral and Décor, 457 Mill St.
Hill is just one thousands of Michigan businesses responding after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced retailers can reopen to customers without an appointment on June 4, following capacity limits, social distancing guidelines and safety measures. The businesses were closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the Ortonville Downtown Development Authority started passing out the reopening kits from Oakland County that included masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and more. Businesses in the downtown area are getting their reopening plans ready in tandem with the kits, and the process looks different for everyone.
“Big thanks to Oakland County,” said DDA Director Matt Jenkins. “The fact that they decided to launch the initiatives, and through Main Street Oakland County, is huge, it means they value our traditional downtown.”
Hill Floral and Décor said they’re trying to make the store comfortable for customers to shop in.
“Due to this pandemic, we’re approaching business through a different set of eyes,” said Hill. “Our customers are the most important, we want to make sure they feel safe when they come. We’re providing PPE for them to feel more comfortable.”
Hill said that they want their customers to have a positive experience when they stop in and to feel like family.
“We have been providing curbside service and home delivery,” said Hill. “We look forward to being able to set up future small events using safety precautions, floral arranging classes, yoga and lifestyle classes, women’s empowerment.”
She also said she is looking forward to doing flowers for events as the state reopens, such as weddings.
“We pride ourselves in quality floral arrangements that are made from scratch, and we specialize in weddings and events,” she said. “We look forward to hearing from future brides in the area.”
Like many area businesses, It’s the Little Things, 431 Mill St., a few new rules will apply
“We’re keeping regular hours, and we’re requiring masks when they come in,” said Jesse Paynter, one of the owners of It’s the Little Things. “We have signs and circles on the floor to keep everyone six feet apart, and we even have one six feet from the register.”
Paynter also said that their customers have been doing more online shopping.
“Once they discover we have a website, I think we’re going to have more online shopping,” he said. “They’re going to feel safer doing it from their home than coming into the store.”
Across the street, Mabelena Quilting Supplies & Comforts, 470 Mill St. is doing shop by appointment.
“We’re doing it 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and we will continue throughout the 12 of June when the governor gives her blessing to reopen,” said Brenda Heffernan. “There’s a chance we will be open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the summer.”
To make an appointment to shop, call (248) 627-9100.
“I will try to limit it to 5 or 6 people,” said Heffernan. “And I do appreciate it when they wear a mask.”
While businesses are getting ready to reopen, the DDA is ready to assist them however they can.
“Based on some of the conversations we’ve had, it’s hard to gauge how soon the community will be comfortable returning,” said Jenkins. “A percentage of people will return slower, but the kits can be a comfort to the consumer that we’re doing what we can.”