Photo courtesy of Apple Blossom Furnishing.
Photo courtesy of Apple Blossom Furnishing.

A local Michigan store owner gets a second chance of opening her business as we see economic growth with more pandemic support than ever before.

MICHIGAN—When Stephanie Buckman opened her home decor boutique of her dreams in her hometown of Adrian, she had no idea it was two days before the whole world would start going into lockdown.

Apple Blossom Furnishing store made its debut in March of 2020. This left Buckman with the decision she never thought she would have to make; to close her store and only hope that one day she will be able to open again.

Buckman was now faced with homeschooling her eight-year-old daughter, figuring out creative ways to bring in an income, and make the best of what they had, she said.

“I had my notes and orders in my head. It was chaos,” said Buckman. But with a supportive family and community behind her, Apple Blossom Furnishing was slowly making its way to standing on its own two feet again. 

After keeping a close eye on the restrictions and regulations Buckman went all out on social media marketing and was fortunate enough to open up her business in May for curbside pickup. 

With the creativity of curbside pickup and regulations being lifted, small businesses are seeing more COVID relief and support than ever before. Now, a year later and in the midst of an economic rise, Buckman is finally starting to see the full potential of her business.

A Better Tomorrow 

Many small businesses like Apple Blossom Furnishing are able to stand on their own again as we have seen help from the Biden administration and an increase in the economy by 6%. With the assistance of the latest stimulus checks that have been sent out to everyone in the country, it’s creating a full cycle of help for local businesses. 

“The stimulus checks helped because we were able to reinvest in our business,” said Buckman, “we are able to hang on.” 

COVID relief has become more accessible for people as we resume dining, shopping, and recreational activities, with the help from President Biden. For people looking to create a change in their home, Apple Blossom Furnishing is waiting right there to help ‘redecorate and revamp their space.’

This past year and a half has been a challenge for small business owners. However, with the growth in the economy that we have already experienced and the support of the Biden administration, our nation is slowly building itself back up from the pandemic recession. 

“I can’t believe we made it,” said Buckman, “I just can’t believe we survived it.” 

An Economy on The Rise 

Through the Biden Administration, local families are feeling the positive impacts of $35 million to food assistance and $3.5 billion to our local schools, money for childcare, and creating sustainable economic recovery for our communities. 

This support, including $1,4000 in stimulus checks, $3,600 to child tax credits, and small business grants, is allowing for a cycle of small family-owned businesses like Apple Blossom Furnishing to get the second chance they hoped for.   

As American consumers have stepped up their spending in recent months, they have consumed more physical goods rather than they have services, like haircuts, airline tickets and restaurant meals: Spending on goods accelerated at an annual pace of nearly 24% last quarter; services spending rose at a rate below 5%.

Nationally, the economy grew last quarter at a vigorous 6.4% annual rate, and expectations are that the current quarter will be even better, economists say. The number of people seeking unemployment aid — a rough reflection of layoffs — last month reached its lowest point since the pandemic struck. And the National Association of Realtors said Thursday that more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in March, reflecting a strong housing market as summer approaches.

Economists say that widespread vaccinations and declining viral cases, the reopening of more businesses, a huge infusion of federal aid and healthy job gains should help sustain steady growth. For 2021 as a whole, they expect the economy to expand around 7%, which would mark the fastest calendar-year growth since 1984.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.