Open For Business: Bloomington businesswoman pushes through the pandemic to open store

Open For Business

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD)– Meet Karen Wingo. 

“I know it seems like I’m crazy or something, but I’m not one to give up,” Wingo said.

She’s a collector of sorts buying estates, packing up the items inside and then selling them at different sites. Just like the items she sells, Wingo’s passion and persistence for business are on display. Her five-year dream is now a reality. Wingo opened her Bloomington business, Etc. Shoppes and Storage in October, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

“Well it was concerning and—but we were all supposed to be working together to make sure that people were safe and that it didn’t get worse. So I was okay with the shutdown,” Wingo said.

Customers or not, seven days a week you’ll find Wingo hard at work at her store. It’s an opportunity she doesn’t take for granted. 

“I think the uniqueness of this community and every community is to have small businesses that were in different perspectives and different merchandise and opportunities for people.”

karen wingo

She said, “I’m just so happy not to be shut down and be able to operate just even at a reduced capacity.”

Sanitizing and making room to ensure social distancing are just a few of the additional COVID-19 era changes Wingo has made in an effort to stay open. 

Wingo said, “Sometimes you’re almost there and you just keep taking the next step. And you get disappointed sometimes and you’re worried and concerned, but you do what you need to do.”

And it’s that spirit of persistence that she hopes propels her business and other local businesses forward, even with uncertainty ahead.

“I think that it’s important for communities altogether to have unique businesses because otherwise every community would be exactly the same,” she said.

Etc. Shoppes and Storage is located at 1804 N. Towanda Barnes Rd. in Bloomington.

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