Metamora developing businesses ‘push on’ during COVID-19 crisis

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METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD) — Concerns over COVID-19 have hit businesses, large and small, across the board.

However, a few developing business owners said, Wednesday, although the crisis has thrown them a curveball they still plan to move forward.

David Wohlert Jr., CEO of Farm Table Brewing Co., said when construction started on his future microbrewery/restaurant last December he never foresaw a global virus throwing a wrench in his plans. He also said he still doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s been a daunting task and I can’t say it hasn’t been stressful,” Wohlert said. “But all you can do is adapt to the stress and keep moving forward.”

Wohlert said the current outbreak is only slowing down their plans slightly so he and the staff can practice social distancing, but he said it’s not affecting the essential construction being done on the building.

He said the outbreak, however, did give him and co-owner Natasha McQuaid ideas on how to offer alternative services if they can’t operate with large crowds.

“If god forbid, anything like this happens again we’ll hope to be better prepared to provide the community with well-needed resources,” Wohlert said. “Such as curbside pickup or even packaging liquor to where we can sell our homebrews.”

Another local business, Rhonda’s Doggie Palace, was operating for a year before it voluntarily closed, before Illinois’ stay-at-home order, to expand in a bigger location.

Owner Rhonda Fries said she originally planned to reopen April 1 and now hopes for April 15. Fries said although the future is uncertain and nervewracking, she plans to tough it out.

“We’re hoping, being an essential business but you don’t know right now with everything it’s just one curveball gets thrown into the next,” Fries said. “So, we’re just going to keep praying and moving forward.”

Fries said she plans to sell essential oils and treats for dogs as well as offer boarding for the canines. She said at this point all she can do is hope for the best and keep working.

“I plan to have faith and keep pushing on,” Fries said.

Wohlert expressed similar sentiments and said the community has supported them every step of the way.

“We have a very strong community here [in Metamora] and everyone backs us,” Wohlert said. “Usually you can literally walk down the street and if you needed the shirt off somebody’s back they’d give it to you.”

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