Over the past several months, The Vines Flower and Garden Shop has closed its doors, launched a website with curbside pick-up, and most recently opened an outdoor flower and plant market, all to cope with COVID-19 restrictions.
The one-two punch of lost revenues and increased expenses hit the downtown Farmington business hard.
“We were not working for two months,” said Zoe McAskin, a shop employee and owner Michele Hinds’ niece. “Most of our weddings and showers were cancelled.”
Hinds successfully applied for assistance through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) MI Local Biz crowdfunding program. Its goal is to help businesses not only recover, but also position themselves for post-COVID success.
A June 10 social media post announced The Vines’ campaign. Forty-eight hours later, the shop had reached its $5,000 goal.
“We’ve never done anything like that,” McAskin said. “We did not know what to expect, but we did not expect that.”
Nearly 100 people have donated to the campaign through Patronicity, a crowdfunding platform that connects community projects with matching funds. The Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in mid-May launched a campaign, with funds matched by Main Street Oakland County, to cover the cost of personal protection equipment and other COVID-related expenses.
McAskin said The Vines campaign will help cover rent, insurance, employee pay, and generally cover loss of revenue. The MEDC will match up to $5,000; as of June 21, nearly $5,600 has been raised. And the campaign still has more than two weeks to go.
“Our community has been amazing,” McAskin said.