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Two stores reopen despite Safer at Home

By Joe VanDeLaarschot 262-306-5054

HARTFORD — Two businesses in the city’s downtown opened for business Tuesday despite Gov. Tony Evers’ stay at home order that he renewed for the state last week.

The Main Street Yarn Shop at 59 N. Main Street reopened its doors at 10 a.m. Monday. The WI Wear Shop at 75 N. Main Street reopened for about four hours Monday, reopened again Tuesday and will remain open.

Early Tuesday morning Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Scott Henke said he knew of no other businesses in the downtown that had reopened.

“It appears most if not all hair, nail and barber shops have chosen not to reopen at this time and will continue to stay closed because of state licensing,” Henke said.

Henke said other businesses that had been doing business by delivering or pickup at their front doors were still doing so.

Wayne Rusniak, owner of Wayne’s Barbershop at 18 S. Main Street, has not reopened his business and won’t until he receives the state approval.

“My insurance will not cover me and if I opened my insurance may be revoked and I could lose my state license,” said Rusniak.

Ronda Hattori, owner of the Main Street Yarn Shop, reopened Tuesday because she is normally closed Mondays. She said she is proud Mayor Tim Michalak “gave us the freedom to reopen.”

“I feel that as a small business owner I have the right, the freedom to do this,” Hattori said. “I don’t run a high volume shop so at max I might have two to three people in my shop ever. So I feel like the risk is not there for the consumer, the risk is not there for me. I am healthy and have no fear. I am a one-person business and I need to feed my family.”

Tim Nietzel, who owns WI Wear at 75 N. Main Street, said he reopened for business for four hours Monday. Several customers came to his store.

“Some had traveled from long distances to shop because they heard Hartford was going to be open Monday,” Nietzel said. “We didn’t have to open, but I feel we should. The infection rate is still quite small and we need to start the recovery.”

Jeri Mallow, owner of Nail Essentials of 11 N. Main Street, said she and and other owners of shops like hers can’t reopen because they have state licenses.


Joe VanDeLaarschot/Daily News Staff

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“It is really hurting business and it will take months to recover. I’ve fielded over 40 calls from customers asking if we’d reopen,” Mallow said. “We’ve been able to pay our bills.

Hattori said she thinks “the whole insurance thing is really poor information.”

“I talked to another business owner and asked them if they had actually talked to their insurance agent. She said no. I feel fear is just perpetuating insurance fears. So there’s no insurance issues whatsoever. As long as you pay your premiums you are insured,” Hattori said.

“If you got to Walmart they are insured. In my shop if you want to buy yarn why would my insurance have anything to do with it? The safety factor is like tenfold more serious in a store like that. In my shop there is no fear. I am a small business owner; why would I want to put my customers at risk, put myself at risk? Without customers I don’t have a business. If I don’t have fear my customers don’t need to have fear. If people are sick I think most people stay home when they are sick anyway.”

Joe VanDeLaarschot/Daily News Staff

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