Chillicothe business owner celebrates first year open days before anniversary of first COVID-19 shutdown

Local News

CHILLICOTHE, Ill. (WMBD) — A Chillicothe business is reaching its one-year anniversary of opening, then closing, a few days later for the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we can get through this year, we can get through anything,” said Stems by Allison owner Allison Carmack.

Stems by Allison is a floral shop, boutique, and event space that first opened on March 6, 2020. Carmack said it was a successful start, but soon, that changed.

“We were so excited and it went great. It was awesome, we had such a great turnout,” said Carmack. “10 days later, everything kind of shutdown.”

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses and canceled events. The floral shop was no exception.

“We had events booked for parties, bridal showers, and baby showers that all had to be postponed, stopped, and we couldn’t schedule them because we didn’t know when we’d be able to get back,” said Carmack.

At that point, Carmack said she was already all-in with her business.

“When I opened, I literally had just put everything that I had from my savings into the business,” said Carmack.

She said she got creative to keep her business alive by posting items online for customers who did not want to come to the store.

“They were nervous. They were scared. They didn’t know what was going on. Everyone was staying home,” said Carmack.

By mid-summer, Stems by Allison reopened. Now at her one-year mark, Carmack said business is picking up.

“Every weekend, this month is booked, Saturday and Sunday. So people are ready to get out, they’re excited, they’re still being cautious,” said Carmack.

Carmack said she is thankful for the community support, including a business grant from the city.

She said she is hoping to have a successful second year open.

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