Support for Ashland Small Businesses Remains Strong Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Local Business Owners Speak Out During a Difficult Year Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

ASHLAND, Wis. – The importance of shopping local is even more polarizing this year amid the ongoing pandemic.

Many longtime business owners are thankful for continues support, while some new owners are grateful for a successful start during a global health crisis.

“I try to bring things from all around the state,” said Jerry Henderson, owner of Taste of Wisconsin.

If you’re looking for unique items to give this season, Taste of Wisconsin along Lake Shore Drive in Ashland is a place to peek inside.

“The idea was to bring in all the things from around the state. Give all those places a place to sell their product up here in the Northland,” said Henderson. “Everything so far has been pretty good, it’s our first year.”

Henderson is beginning a new adventure during a year when so many have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a one-stop-shop basically,” said Henderson.

Thankfully, the items he sells have come in handy for many customers. From 100% Angus beef, to gift boxes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

“So far the feedback has been very positive from everybody,” said Henderson.

After 35 years in the food service industry, Henderson opened Taste of Wisconsin on July 1st. Despite a difficult year for many, he says local customer support is crucial when it comes to seeing his business succeed.

“Small business is the backbone of the town, of the economy,” said Henderson.

Just down the block, Elizabeth Macky and her team at Omer Nelson Electric are making the most of these tricky times.

“It’s been quite busy which we’re incredibly grateful for,” said Macky. “We have been selling tons and tons of computers and printers, that’s been tough to keep in stock.”

With so many working and learning from home, sales of new electronics and even ink are helping to keep sales soaring.

“When everything first started happening this spring we were pretty terrified,” said Macky.

After 75 years in business, Omer Nelson Electric had to refigure how to connect with customers under the pressure of a pandemic.

“We’re doing a lot of curbside pickup right now, which we’re thrilled to do for people, to be able to go out, keep our distance, and make people feel comfortable with the precautions we’re taking that’s really important,” said Macky.

She says love for the local business community in Ashland is strong, something she and her team of about 15 employees are thankful for this season.

“We’re so grateful to the community that they remember we’re here, they remember we’re an option, and they keep coming back to see us,” said Macky.

With main street staples across the Northland worried for what lies ahead, both Macky and Henderson hope their valued customers continue to walk through the door, or pull to the curb in order to help keep the lights on and business booming for years to come.

“Everybody wants a vibrant main street, everybody wants to see businesses doing well, and to put that back in to the community, keeping our dollars here, that’s really important,” said Macky.

Omer Nelson Electric has actually had to hire new staff members to keep up with demand during the pandemic.

As for Henderson, his meat department continues to be busy this holiday season with orders for prime rib, hams, and other tastes of Wisconsin.

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