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Eau Claire small business stays open to spread joy

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tough time for many, especially small businesses. But one Eau Claire woman is making sure her shop is still available to still spread some light in this dark time.

Genny Hay, the owner of Eau Claire Floral said that her shop is typically bustling with customers and a few part-time employees, but now, it's just her.

"It's scary. I mean parts of it are sad that I can't have any of my employees come in anymore," said Hay. "It's just me here doing it all on my own so it's kind of a little lonely."

But despite the loneliness, she hung on, wanting to share a pop of color to the community and spread a bit of joy.

"Birthdays still happen. Especially now more than ever people can't get together so they want to send their loved ones a floral surprise."

With birthdays, anniversaries and funerals still going on despite the pandemic, Hay thinks now more than ever, people need each other and support.

"I can't even imagine losing a loved one and not having the actual service and having the people there to give you support. So I wanted to stay open to be able to offer those services and also just help bring something positive out of this because there is so much scary stuff and negativity."

Something positive she's noticed: the majority of her orders are from people wanting to just say "hi" and to let friends, relatives and loved ones know that someone is thinking about them.

While many have children, spouses or family members next to us while social distancing, some are alone. And those people are the ones on Genny's mind.

"I mean we're all stuck at home. But to people who are home alone who doesn't see anybody during the day and just getting a flower surprise really brightens up their whole day or week so that has been really cool to see."

With spring on our doorstep, Genny says this is the best time of year to be a florist and for customers with the bright, vibrant and sweet-smelling blooms filling the shop.

"The more we can get them out to people's houses and bring the outside in, the better off and happier we are all going to be," said Hay. "I'm just happy to be here and still spread joy somehow even during this scary time."

She added that spreading joy can be as simple as leaving a little treat or coffee for a neighbor or a friend who might need that extra boost of happiness and connection.

"It can really make them feel good and you feel good in return and just keep something positive and spreading some joy during this bad time."

That joy - is spreading. With each contact-less delivery she makes, each knock on the door, she lets people know someone is thinking of them. And helping us all feel a little let alone.

The doors to the business are closed during the Safer-at-Home order. Orders and payments are only accepted online and for delivery only.

Katie Phernetton

Katie Phernetton is one of the Daybreak morning anchors.

She joined News 18 in August of 2018 after working as a reporter for five years in the Green Bay market. Born and raised in Green Bay, she prides herself in being a cheesehead through and through.

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