A Michigan music store owner is going out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic, and blames Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for implementing the orders that left the business no choice but to close for good.
Steve Walker of Hastings, Mich. is shutting down his family’s store, Walker Music & Textiles Co., of 11 years after Gov. Whitmer required non-essential businesses to close in March, FOX 17 reported.
Walker describes what the store meant to him and his community while bursting into tears. “This is my dream. Shutting it down. Closing out this phase of my life,” Steve said as he wept during an interview with FOX 17.
“It won’t be a retail shop anymore and it won’t be an inviting environment for kids to come and be loved and to learn music.”
“I’ve been sitting here for 60 days watching my neighbors do business day in and day out,” he said. “They aren’t thriving but they are surviving. There’s no reason in hell I couldn’t have done the same thing. None. And that’s what makes me angry.”
All of Walker’s attempts to acquire aid to hold the business over until restrictions were lifted were ultimately futile. The unemployment office, he told Fox 17, never responded to his calls. His business also didn’t get any grant money from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which he applied for. (RELATED: Gretchen Whitmer Battles With Michigan Barber Who Refuses To Close Shop)
“I don’t want a stupid handout from the government, I want my hands untied so I can work,” he said.
Fortunately, he adds, the store has all their bills paid. But bills for utility, internet, insurance, and phones are costly enough that the family is moving out from their rented property early, and selling merchandise at a 20% markdown, which will be given to customers curbside.
However, Walker said this didn’t have to happen — his business could’ve remained afloat.
“I put the responsibility of that on the governor’s shoulders because if she had been reasonable, this would not be happening,” Walker said.
“But oh well. That’s the way it is. That’s life. And, I have to move on and deal with it.”
Michigan’s stay-at-home orders were extended until May 28 despite pressure from Republican lawmakers.
The state legislature’s GOP leadership filed a lawsuit against Whitmer last week, alleging that her executive order to extend the state of emergency was unlawful, according to CNN.