Small hardware stores still permitted to sell most items under executive order

Posted at 8:12 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 19:24:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — At Alger Hardware and Rental in Grand Rapids, the door is locked. But they're still open for business.

"It's been a little crazy. It's been a lot more work for us, because we're not allowing anyone in the store," Alger Hardware and Rental owner Bill DeJong said.

Under Governor Whitmer's executive order, businesses less than 50,000 square feet must limit the amount of customers and employees allowed in the store to 25% of total occupancy limits.

Owner of Alger Hardware and Rental Bill DeJong took it a step further. He's not allowing any customers in the store, and hasn't for weeks now. Instead, employees take call-ahead orders and meet customers at the door with their items wearing masks and gloves.

No more than 4 people are to wait outside the store at a time, with appropriate social distancing.

It has it's fair share of challenges.

“Sometimes you pick the right thing, sometimes you don’t, and that could mean 2-3 trips back and forth,” DeJong said.

But for DeJong, it's worth it.

“To be able to be open, it’s been real important,” DeJong said.

DeJong is also still selling items for things like lawn care and paint. Under Governor Whitmer's executive order, only businesses of 50,000 square feet or more are required to prohibit the sale of those items.

“Smaller hardwares like ours are still able to make those type of sales,” DeJong said.

Those types of sales are important to DeJong and his 11 employees.

“Lawn and garden and paint are my two largest sales departments. If we had to shut those down, we may as well close at that point,” DeJong said.

It's a large part of what's keeping his small business going, when so much of the state has shut down.

“It’s coming up on our busiest time of the year. So it’s really nice that we’ve been able to be open this way,” DeJong said.