Lake Orion boutique so thankful for community support during the pandemic

Staying safe is the top priority, but local business owners who want to stay afloat are relying on family and loyal customers to do it. 

Business is brisk at Green Hippo Gifts in quaint downtown Lake Orion, but the store is pretty much empty. It's a strange new normal, never seeing her customers, for owner Jennifer Meier. 

"This is the hardest I feel like we've ever had to work. It's just 24/7 trying to change, completely pivot what we were doing and completely change it in a way that our customers can still reach us," she said. 

The store is filled with all kinds of fun gifts. 

"Sidewalk chalk, that kind of stuff to keep your kiddos busy outside. We have jewelry which makes beautiful gifts for mothers, friends," she said. "My husband's a teacher and I used to be a teacher before owning the shop so we always make sure to carry a lot of educational activity kits and that kind of stuff, and gifts that are educational but they're also fun."

Their shop relies heavily on foot traffic so getting word out about their merchandise has been totally different now, relying only on the internet. 

"I love that we can hop online and place an order here at Green Hippo Gifts and pick it up within hours," said neighbor Jennifer Locke. 
The gifts are gift wrapped and some are shipped, but many are picked up right outside the door.
"All the packages are left outside the front door and we come on up, look for our name on the order slip and pick it up," Locke said. 

For shoppers like her, safely supporting a local business is gratifying. 

"I just feel for all these businesses that are struggling right now. So I think it's awesome to support local businesses," Locke said. 

"The community has really rallied behind us. We had a lot of, our customers, we've been here for six years. Our customers have really become like family to us and a lot of them reached out right away and were like, 'How can we help you get through this?' So it was touching really," Meier said. 

Meier and her husband and their three kids are all working to virtually keep in touch with customers and fill the orders. It's a family business and the family is keeping it alive. 

"We as a family have not been anywhere besides the shop and our home. We don't even go to the grocery store or anything like that," Meier said.

The one thing we keep hearing from business owners who want to stay physically healthy, emotionally healthy and financially healthy is they are so thankful to the community who continues to support them.