Small businesses throughout the state, and the nation, make up the backbone of the economy. But during the pandemic, many were forced to close their doors while the rest struggle to survive.
“We do a variety of products ranging from home décor, we do live plants, women’s clothing,” said Lauren Husen, owner of Rebel Co.
Husen has been in business at Rebel Co. in Saginaw for six years and has seen much success.
“We were coming into the year, into 2020 with a large percentage rate. We were actually up almost 40 percent in our first quarter,” Husen said.
The success soon turned into a struggle once the pandemic hit. Forcing the small business to close for two months, but the store bounced back.
“We did curbside pickup. We offered delivery. We offered shipping,” Husen said.
Husen was able to keep all of her employees during a time of uncertainty by sacrificing her own paycheck to do so.
“Myself, like most owners, we just went without a paycheck to make sure to keep our employees, keep our business going. We were in survival mode,” Husen said.
Even COVID-19 relief options for small businesses, like the paycheck protection program, weren't enough.
“I did get the first round of PPE loan, but what that amounted to was nothing compared to the losses that we experienced,” Husen said.
Losses which she said were in the six figures. Fast forward to today, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, the small business is still pushing forward despite the many curveballs it’s been thrown.
"It's been a rollercoaster," Husen said.