On top of being home to Michigan State, East Lansing is also home to a number of businesses that thrive off the college community.
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, many of these businesses are struggling to keep afloat as East Lansing starts to look more like a ghost town than a college town.
MSU made the decision to move all in-person classes online through the remainder of the semester March 14, which had an immediate effect on the city’s businesses.
“When the university closed, for us that’s when things started changing — sending the students home,” co-owner of Groovy Donuts Monica Lucas said.
Having opened their East Lansing location in September 2016, Groovy Donuts was beginning to take off, Lucas said.
“We're right around the corner from starting to be able to pay off some debts for good and start taking off,” Lucas said. “And when the university sent the students home, we lost over 60% of our event orders, which are hundreds of dollars that we already had. A lot of them needed to be refunded immediately.”
Lucas said she and co-owner Andrew Gauthier had to cancel and refund many orders, even though some of the ingredients had already been purchased.
On March 16, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all bars and restaurants to close temporarily, offering only takeout and delivery options, which allowed many stores to still remain open.
Throughout the state, many businesses have been participating in "Takeout Tuesdays" and "The Great American Takeout," creating deals for customers to continue supporting businesses.