Main Street’s Small Biz Owners Look to Get “Back on Track”

Did you know that the vast majority of downtown Lafayette’s economy is made up of small, local and family-owned businesses?

From restaurants to beauty salons, law offices to tattoo parlors, and everything in between, Main Street is home to a wide diversity of small businesses.

At the moment, however, they all share one thing in common: trying to apply the state’s five-phase “Back on Track” program for gradually re-opening the economy.

As numerous COVID-19 cases were being confirmed in big cities like New York, Seattle and Chicago, many local business owners in Lafayette were caught off guard by the state’s call in early March to shutdown non-essential businesses to prevent the spread of the virus.

Now, in late May, as the number of new COVID-19 cases in Indiana indicates a downward trend, many Lafayette residents are eager to see life return to some semblance of normalcy.

At the same time, Lafayette’s small business owners are cautiously optimistic about reopening. Many see a challenge in balancing their own livelihood with protecting the health of their customers and employees.

“We’re trying to get creative with our specials to encourage our customers to get takeout through us,” says Michelle Wise, co-owner of The Cellar Wine Bistro (1001 Main Street). “With the 50% capacity limits for restaurants, that presents some challenges for us and we’re holding off on dine-in for the time being.”

At the end of the same block, Julia La Lopa, co-owner of BLÜM Hair Studio (1024 Main St.), says marks are in order.

“Obviously, we can’t keep six feet of distance while cutting your hair, so we’re wearing face masks and requiring our customers to do the same. And while we usually love for our customers to bring all their friends with them, now’s not the best time for that.”

At Virtuous Cycles (215 N. 10th St.), owner Zoe Neal’s been keeping everything outdoors. “We’ve been meeting customers curbside to pick up their bikes for repairs. If they’re shopping for something new, we’ll bring bikes out to them for test rides—that way we minimize customers from bringing any contagions into the store. It’s working so far.”

If you visit a local business in the coming weeks or months, please be understanding. Small business owners have been through a lot recently. Your kindess is appreciated.

Wondering what’s open? What’s closed? Click here to find the latest update from your favorite downtown restaurant.

Interested in viewing Indiana’s 5-Phase “Back on Track” Plan?
View “Back on Track” Plan