Ozarks small business deemed not 'essential' fears of closing its doors for good

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -- Stay-at-home orders went into effect Thursday for several counties across the Ozarks.

Only "essential businesses" have been cleared to stay open, presenting challenges for several small businesses.

"We were getting ready to reopen just on a Friday and a Saturday, then we were told we couldn't open," said Randolph Medler, co-owner of Glenstone Cottage Antiques.

Medler said he's been selling antiques for 40 years.

"People enjoy coming into our shop because we sell different things, we're friendly [and] it's like a free museum," he said. "It's the hunt that people enjoy, it's not necessarily the items, they like going out and hunting for the item."

Medler said he and his co-owner had already shortened their hours to protect themselves and their customers.

"That's why we had shut down to two days a week, so she wouldn't get sick and get her mother sick and I wouldn't get my spouse sick who works at the hospital," he said.

On Tuesday, the city of Springfield announced a "stay at home" order, requiring people to stay at home unless you are considered an essential employee, shopping for essential services and goods or exercising outside.

"We thought we had everything figured out, but when they just tell you you're going to close your doors, I don't think anyone anticipates that," Medler said.

Medler's Antique shop is full of unique items, but his store is not listed as essential. It will be closed for the next 30 days.

"We'll literally be out of business because we have a few vendors in here, they're not making any money, we have to pay our rent at the end of the month, we have to pay our city utilities [and] we have to pay our taxes," he said. "Then, there wont be anything left for us."

Medler said small business owners take the hardest hit during these closures.

"We're not the only ones, there's an antique mall under the bridge here, STD [Flea Market], they're closed. Mikes Unique out on the bypass, they're closed, all of their employees are gone and they're in the same shape," he said.

The Stay-at-Home Emergency Order in Springfield, Greene, Christian and Webster Counties is scheduled to end on April 24.

The US Small Business Administration will also offer low-interest disaster recovery loans for Missouri small businesses that have been severely impacted by coronavirus.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.