“I own a flower shop and I’ve had to close because we’re not essential. I’m going to struggle big time now. This is the busiest time of the year with Easter coming. Proms have been canceled. I’m hoping Mother’s Day isn’t a total loss, too.

“This business is cyclical. I’m always busy in the spring – I prepared myself to have Easter and spring wreaths and home décor available for customers. Now I’m sitting on all of this inventory. I have a cooler full of fresh flowers I’ll have to donate or throw away. This month I’m looking at probably a $20,000 or $30,000 loss.

“It’s going to be a struggle to ever come back. How can you ever get this kind of money back fast?

“The beauty shop and nail shop next to me, they’re not working. Most of downtown Jacksonville is closed. It’s gonna hurt, and it’s gonna hurt the city taxes and everything. It will trickle down … or I guess I should say trickle up … and hurt a lot of people.

“I was in the process of selling my business. I’ve had this business for 24 years, and I’ve been in the industry for 30 years. I’m 68 years old. It’s just time for me to enjoy my life. My husband has Parkinson’s and I need to be home a little bit more.

“It was a good time to sell to someone younger. I get tired at the end of the day. When you own a business, you never go a day without going in and working.

“Now, people aren’t going to be interested in buying anything.

“What frustrates me most is the government hasn’t done anything to help any small businesspeople. They tell people not to fight with each other, but why can’t the government work together? They’re not fighting for us, they’re fighting against each other.

“I started this business and it’s grown so much, even though I don’t have a college education. You have to work to get where you want to go.

“I have to think, and I’ve got to pray, and I’ve got to believe this will turn this around and people will start buying, but people are out of work.

“I just hope my health stays good and his health is OK. I don’t want to deteriorate from stress.

“It’s been worse. My husband has had cancer. I’ve dealt with a lot. I’ve lost a son. It’s a lot to take, but life goes on. Right now, when I get down in the dumps, I always remember these words: ‘Do not fear, for God is with you.’”

JoAnn Chumley
Jacksonville, Illinois
Owner of All Occasions Flowers & Gifts