We salute all Michigan businesses answering the call to serve our family, friends and neighbors on the front lines during this coronavirus pandemic.
Recently we launched a new advertisement highlighting the work of three Michigan-based small businesses that have pivoted to meet the needs of our communities. We know small businesses drive Michigan’s economy, while giving us plenty of unique places to go, shops to explore, food to taste and beverages to sip.
We’re proud to provide the energy to keep Michigan going during this challenging time and deliver extra support to small businesses. One way we are doing that is through this new series called #PoweringThruTogether.
Here is a look behind the scenes at three businesses featured in our video: Wonderland Distilling, Signs By Crannie and Fantastic Alterations.
From making spirits to raising spirits, Wonderland Distilling is answering the call of first responders across Michigan.
The Muskegon-based distillery quickly transitioned from making whiskey, vodka, gin and rum to producing thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wonderland felt it was our responsibility to help out where we can, said Allen Serio, Chief Marketing Officer. After distilleries received approval from the government to start production of hand sanitizer, our executive team had an emergency call and immediately developed a production layout of what it would take to make hand sanitizer.
Within 48 hours, we had numerous requests from first responders, medical facilities, police departments and essential companies asking if we were going to produce hand sanitizer. We quickly realized our original estimates were way off. We increased original estimates by over 200 times.
Since every distillery was able to make hand sanitizer, there was a national shortage of products used to make it. Wonderland teamed with fellow West Michigan companies to create an unconventional supply chain.
Serio purchases milk jugs from a local dairy, high-proof Isoprophyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide from a nearby chemical company and 55-gallon drums come from another area business.
All these companies are working with us to produce hand sanitizer and get it to the people on the front line that desperately need it, he said. Within the first two weeks, we produced 1,000 gallons and demand continues to grow.
Signs of support
Dan Crannie immediately knew how to best help during the Covid-19 crisis ̶ make signs to support other businesses.
Crannie is the president of Signs by Crannie, a full-service commercial sign manufacturer with a plant in Flint. The business, which also has a plant in Florida, specializes in signs including, custom, digital, LED electronic, monuments and scoreboards.
The business has designed, constructed and installed signs for more than 35 years throughout Michigan, Florida, the United States and the world.
I realized every restaurant in town was going to be hurt by this, Crannie said.
With restaurants given the option of continuing to offer takeout or delivery, Crannie and his team made two versions of the signs: Open for Takeout and Open for Drive-Thru.
He said 250 signs were given away in Michigan and 100 more at his Florida location.
I just hope my small effort can help our community during this crisis, he said.
Kelly Wheaton has always run her Haslett-based business Fantastic Alterations with flexibility and creative flair.
Inventing new ways to alter clothing for all shapes and sizes, including wedding gowns for a bride’s special day, is simply part of the job. Wheaton’s principles have positioned her business to help family members, neighbors and healthcare officials by making masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We made the pivot out of both necessity and desire to help out our community, said Wheaton, who runs the shop with her mother, Carolyn Thurman. We immediately started getting calls from friends and family wanting to find out if we could make masks.
The decision was easy. Daughter and mother immediately went to work making masks for local doctors and relatives working in healthcare.
It seemed like a natural way for us to adapt to what people need right now, said Wheaton, whose shop is making about 200 masks a day. We are trying to donate as many as possible to medical officials in need to show our appreciation to them.