In March of 2020, COVID-19 made its way to the United States causing an economic downturn.
This impact caused about 15.9% of small business revenue to decrease in Michigan within five months of the initial outbreak.
For Aaron McClinton, owner of MaCnificent Photo Booth, the pandemic helped his small business grow into a one-stop shop.
McClinton started his photography business in 2019 right before the pandemic.
“I was just starting to get my feet wet,” McClinton said.
Once the virus spread and forced his business to shut down, McClinton became discouraged.
“I almost gave up … it was tough. But the passion for it, when you are doing something you love, it is hard to let go of it,” McClinton said.
His love for photography and entertainment helped him survive the effects of the pandemic while still being able to save his business.
“When COVID hit, it really humbled me. It gave me a lot of time to think … you felt like you were on top and then you go back down and now I had to get back out, to rebrand myself,” McClinton said.
Erica McClinton, Aaron’s sister, and business partner had the opportunity to watch him transform his business during these unforeseen times.
“When COVID hit he kept thinking of different ideas … of what he could do to grow the business. That is when he started doing the virtual photo booth,” Erica said.
McClinton’s virtual photo both was inspired by an idea of being able to participate in something without actually being on-site.
“Our virtual photo booth is to entertain certain guests that couldn’t make it due to … COVID restrictions,” McClinton said.
McClinton has continuously made efforts to meet his customers’ needs which has resulted in 5 different photo booths.
But he knew he still wanted to add something more to his business to make it stand out.
“I taught myself how to Dj, it was so hand in hand,” McClinton said.
Brenda Love, another business partner of McClinton, recognizes how much his business has grown, especially due to his variety of services.
“I’ve never seen anybody combine DJing and a Photo Booth,” Love said. “A lot of people do not do that, they do one or the other.”
McClinton has made a name for himself within the Lansing area because of his professionalism.
“His business has grown from word of mouth,” Love said. “If something comes up, he accommodates you.”
McClinton has made sure to go above and beyond with providing great customer service.
“If it’s … a themed party and he doesn’t have the props, he will go out to make sure he has those props,” Erica said. “Everything you need for a party,”
The feedback from clients is what McClinton says has kept him joyful throughout the tough times.
“I love seeing the reactions of someone when they’re in the 360 booth,” McClinton said. “Getting the attention of someone that’s like … I’m not going to take a picture, but then they’re behind your photo booth the whole time.”
McClinton is now seeking to increase his business even more by producing photography for the real estate market.
The pandemic taught McClinton that you can’t plan for everything, but you need to be ready for anything.