Updated: January 31, 2021 10:30 PM
Created: January 31, 2021 03:07 PM
Hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic closed businesses across the country, but in Ashland, roughly half a dozen new businesses have opened.
Mary McPhetridge, Executive Director of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce said Tastes of Wisconsin, The Gitch Nutrition, El Charro and Beads to Blooms all recently opened, while Copper Pasty is going to be opening soon and Superior Floral & Gift recently expanded.
McPhetridge attributes the growth in businesses to support from locals and sustainability of the economy at large.
“We're so fortunate because our economy is diverse, so we don't have our eggs in one basket,” McPhetridge said. “We have so many different things from manufacturing to education, to medical and tourism, everything.”
One new business adding diversity to Ashland’s economy is Beads to Blooms, the city's first bead store, owned by Anna Neumann.
“Being part of history and having historic beads—it just all fit,” Neumann said. “I’m pretty fortunate to be in this space.”
Neumann’s journey started in 2012 when she bought her first batch of beads for $20 at a flea market and began selling them on Etsy.
“I’ve had almost 26,000 sales on Etsy. That’s 26,000 bags of beads,” Neumann said. Fast forward to 2021 and Neuman has upwards of 4,000 pounds of beads from over ten countries across the globe. Hence, her need for a storefront.
“I have one strand that is possibly a 500 year old Egyptian strand. My German beads were made pre-war, so they were made in the 1920’s. My Japan beads are also in that era. I have Peruvian beads, African beads and the list goes on,” Neumann said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge businesses, Neumann said she will continue offering online shopping, as well as, curbside pickup to reach customers worldwide and locally.
These are things McPhetridge said Ashland businesses have gone above and beyond in to offer and customers have been receptive to.
“Everybody has been so supportive and especially of the extremely vulnerable businesses like restaurants and such. People have been so wonderful to buy gift certificates, order curbside, and carry out,” McPhetridge said.
McPhetridge hopes to see business continue to boom both amid and post pandemic.