Michelle Hinds, owner of The Vine in Farmington Hills, said that Michigan’s lift on COVID-19 restrictions has brought a sense of normalcy back to her business.
On June 22, Michigan joined the majority of the states that are pulling back COVID-19 restrictions. With masks no longer being required, unless per the business owners’ request, businesses such as The Vine have seen a dramatic increase in sales for events. Hinds said that people are starting to come into the store more to design and plan rather than over the phone.
“Some of our biggest customers come to us during the wedding season,” said Hinds. “With traditional weddings not taking place during 2020, it is a dream having so many couples using our shop for their weddings this year.”
Among these couples that have used The Vine for their wedding post-COVID is Corrina Cook, a long-time customer of the flower shop.
“I have been going to The Vine since I was around seven years old,” said Cook. “I always said that if I were ever to get married, they would be the ones to do any and all floral needs. When I walked into my first consultation it felt like visiting family, they were so easy to work with and I was so impressed with everything.”
While business is doing well now, things were not so easy during COVID for the small business. The Executive Director of Farmington Downtown Development Authority, Kate Knight, applauded The Vine’s ingenuity during hard times.
“Through the pandemic, they lost 70% of their revenue due to events being canceled and postponed,” said Knight. “They had to pivot and make up revenue with subscription bouquets, increased their retail products, and invested in online sales. We even relocated one of our outdoor dining greenhouses for The Vine to use as additional retail space this summer.”
Employee Jennifer Zebari said that it is not only the weddings that have kept The Vine busy.
“Sadly, funerals are allowed again so we also have an increase in business due to those events,” said Zebari. “On the brighter side, we have also had an increase in daily business. Individual bouquets are being sent more frequently, I believe, due to having not been able to see each other and celebrate in such a long time.”
One recipient of these bouquets was Kristi Hunt, who after seeing The Vines social media hinted to her husband that she would like to receive one herself.
“I saw that their arrangements were beautiful in a whimsical and dreamy way,” said Hunt. “So I politely suggested to my husband that he buy me flowers from there. We were so impressed by them that he started to buy them for myself and our household regularly.”
To get to this point The Vine had to get creative with ways to stay afloat. One of these ways being that they conducted their own crowdfunding campaign in which they raised $5,772 in less than 48 hours.
“Their use of social media was something that connected the entire community together,” said Knight. “Michelle and all her employees bring something unique to the community. To have a woman-owned business as vibrant and creative as the Vines is an absolute attribute to our community.”
Hinds said that the changes after COVID have not only been prosperous financially but also rewarding to see customers come together through her business.
“Just in the past week we have seen a boom in orders for parties in the upcoming months,” said Hinds. “As a business owner, it is nice to see not only from a financial stance but seeing people interact with one another and with our employees makes things feel like we are finally seeing positive change.”
Other small businesses were not as lucky. According to the Wall Street Journal, there were roughly 200,000 permanent closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hinds said The Vine is very thankful to not be a part of that statistic.
“Incidentally, the restrictions being lifted have been very good for business,” Hinds said. “We hope that things remain steady looking forward.”
Simon, Ruth. “Covid-19’s Toll on U.S. Business? 200,000 Extra Closures in Pandemic’s First Year.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 16 Apr. 2021, www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19s-toll-on-u-s-business-200-000-extra-closures-in-pandemics-first-year-11618580619.