'We’re a resilient city': Detroit Dart Club owner hopeful as small businesses fight to bounce back

Small businesses that had to close their doors for the last few months have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sad thing is a lot of people are going to lose their businesses and a lot of people their whole lives tied into it,” said Connor McGaffey.

There are nearly 887,000 small businesses alone in Michigan. Connor owns one of them right here in Detroit. 

“We are Detroit Dart Club and we do nerf wars, dodgeball, and virtual reality parties in a warehouse in Detroit,” he said.

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This unique business is what pays his bills. He says dealing with the shutdown has been much of a waiting game.

“We were kind of just taking it month by month or week by week because the whole vibe of the world has just been different and we’re just trying to follow all the rules,” he said.

And he’s still waiting. There is still no word on when his business can reopen.

“We still don’t know how many people we can have in the place and if the guidelines even work with us,” he said.

But like many small business owners, he has to stay positive.

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“It just didn’t make sense to be just down in the dumps and say like alright, well, this is it for the business,” he said.

Also like many owners, he’s making adjustments, like new safety procedures, and new ways of doing business - like hosting parties where he brings the party to the customer’s home. He’s hoping for a major comeback. 

“Obviously it’s been stressful but at the same time, we’re starting to get a lot of people coming back and looking to reschedule the parties that were canceled over the last three months. It’s nice to see that people are coming back and asking what’s up?”

He feels -- well, hopes, -- the rest of the city will come back too. 

“Detroit specifically, we’re a resilient city and we’ve gone through stuff in the past. There’s going to be more opportunities and things will pop up. It’s definitely going to be a grind for sure but I am hopeful that things will come back,” he said.

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