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Libby Ann’s set to re-open following COVID closure

SISTER LAKES — It has been a busy week for Libby Blahunka.

Libby and her husband, Bob, have been hard at work gearing up for the Thursday, Dec. 3 reopening of their store, Libby Ann’s, 67796 M-152 Suite 5, Dowagiac.

The shop — which offers patrons a mix of new home accessories, vintage items, jewelry, decor and more — has been closed since Nov. 18 due to COVID-19.

“It’s been exhausting,” Blahunka said. “We have been reorganizing, cleaning and disinfecting. We’re just trying to get everything priced, working and back online.”

According to Blahunka, the store will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’ll start with a reduced operation,” Blahunka said. “We’re COVID free, but according to our doctors, it could take months for us to feel 100 percent.”

Libby Ann’s first opened its doors in June 2019. Just as the business began to settle in, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in earnest in March, forcing Libby and Bob to close the store for three months per Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

The store reopened in June, but the pandemic’s long-lasting impact remained.

“We ordered shipments back in June and are still getting piece shipments of those shipments,” Blahunka said. “It’s been really difficult but our vendors have been great. They feel bad because they don’t have the shipments. Delays are huge right now but we’re gonna do the best we can with what we have.”

According to Blahunka, Libby Ann’s has experienced a 65 percent decline in sales compared to last year due to the pandemic.

“It’s scary,” she said. “We have lost a lot of family due to COVID and some friends, as well. I worked in the healthcare arena for 30 years, so I know the importance. We take COVID very seriously. It’s been a trying year as a small business owner.”

As longtime residents of Sister Lakes, the Blahunkas look forward to serving their community again.

“It’s been a great experience overall,” Blahunka said. “We love it here. As a community, we help each other if we need anything. It’s a depressing world right now. We love talking with our customers and hope that stopping by makes them feel good and Christmas-ey. We’re looking to put a little bit of jolly spirit in the air.”

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