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"That's the right way to go about it." Hayes Unfinished Furniture is back to work after proposing a reopen plan to the state

Ralph Hayes' plan included cutting store hours, seeing customers by appointment or curbside pickup only, and requiring face masks and social distancing when inside.

BREWER, Maine — The Small Business Association postponed National Small Business Week due to the coronavirus pandemic but we believe small businesses need assistance now more than ever. As we highlight small businesses in our state, we begin in Brewer.

Hayes Unfinished Furniture is in a prime location and has been for 31 years. Located between two shopping plazas and on the way to Bar Harbor, owner Ralph Hayes has seen steady customer traffic for decades.

“People can either buy it unfinished or we’ll finish it for them, we’ll custom finish it for them," Hayes said. 

Credit: NCM

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That prime location isn't much help during the coronavirus pandemic as Hayes and his five employees were out of work when the state ordered the closure for all non-essential small businesses. 

“After that, the shutdown, it was like the carpet was pulled under your feet. It just stopped, everything came to a stop," Hayes said.

Instead of defying state orders and reopening, Hayes reached out to the City of Brewer with a plan to reopen under proper guidelines.

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Renee Doble is Brewer's Deputy Director of Economic Development. Her office told Hayes to reach out to the Maine State Department of Economic and Community Development.

“It sounds like they’re really willing to work with people and keep their business going and be creative," Doble said.

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Hayes called and laid out his plan, which included limiting store hours, seeing customers by appointment only or curbside pickup, and requiring masks when they came in the store.

He heard back that same day.

“She said yes that’s perfect. That’s the right way to go about it,” Hayes said. 

Credit: NCM

Now Hayes and his employees are back to work. Hayes recommends all small business owners take the route he did in the hope of reopening their own stores and shops.

To contact Hayes Unfinished Furniture:

If you can't make it into the store and would like to place an order, you can email us at info@hayesunfinishedfurniture.com, or call us at (207) 989-1477, with your order information. If you are emailing us please provide us with the your full name, address, phone number and product information.

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