Maple Grove Suffers Several Business Closings Though Retail Environment “Resilient”
The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to many businesses, particularly in the leisure and hospitality sector. In Maple Grove, several businesses closed, attributed to early COVID-19 restrictions and inability to recover from those hardships. However, Maple Grove’s retail environment has been able to battle back, officials tell CCX News.
According to Maple Grove city officials, the list of business closures includes:
- Pier 1 Imports, 7900 Wedgewood Ln. N.
- Patrick’s Bakery and Café, Shoppes at Arbor Lakes
- Cafe Donuts & Ice Cream, 1220, 9408 Dunkirk Ln N
This list also includes the announced closure of the J.C. Penney store in the Grove Square Mall area, as CCX News previously reported.
According to Maple Grove City Administrator Heidi Nelson, the city expressed concern that 25% of its restaurants may not come back due to COVID-19 and the initial closures ordered back in March by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We are sad to see some of these businesses not recover from these closures,” Nelson told CCX Media’s Dave Kiser.
In the case of Patrick’s Bakery and Café, the landlord offered the restaurant the option to end its expiring lease just as the pandemic hit. Patrick Bernet, founder and CEO, agreed to do so. Bernet says his other two restaurant locations, Southdale in Edina and Bachman’s in Richfield, have had success since being allowed to reopen at 50% to indoor customers.
“We’re pleasantly surprised,” said Bernet, noting his restaurant has been around 19 years, which has likely helped.
Funds Exhausted Quickly for Maple Grove Business Loan Program
Maple Grove put in place a forgivable loan program to help business recover. The loans come courtesy of the Maple Grove Economic Development Authority (EDA), providing up to $10,000 to small businesses with zero percent interest and a term of up to five years. However the $250,000 made available was exhausted in about two business days last month.
“We had pretty significant interest in that time,” said Brett Angell, Maple Grove’s economic development manager.
Angell says the funds can be put toward regular business expenses such as rent payments, utility payments, inventory and accounts payable. He anticipates the EDA taking a look at another round of possible funding.
Maple Grove Retail “Resilient” Since Pandemic Hit
While businesses have suffered pain, there’s haven’t been mass closures that some retail experts had previously predicted.
“When all of this first started, you hear these crazy numbers of what they anticipated the closure rate could be. That’s just something that didn’t actually come to fruition,” Angell said.
Angell noted Pier 1 was already going through financial hardship before COVID-19. J.C Penney was having similar struggles.
“I would say Maple Grove for the most part has been pretty resilient in coming back,” Angell said. “I was out in Arbor Lakes last weekend, Friday and Saturday, and it was busy. Surprisingly busy.”
And Angell says the level of businesses exploring a possible move to Maple Grove hasn’t fallen off. He says call levels are similar to pre-pandemic.