Merrill Businesses adjust to pandemic, some unsuccessful

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 9:18 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2020 at 5:28 PM CDT
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - For 15 years off Main Street in Merrill, CPR Computer Service has been there.

But on September 25, the open light will shut off.

“At first, I was angry. I was bitter about it. I’m like, why me?” CPR owner John Heuer said. “March was nothing, April was nothing, May was nothing,"

It was a 75 percent drop in sales over those months that led to this decision. But still, that decision wasn’t easy.

“I have to live. I have to pay my bills. I have to feel good about myself as a person," Heuer explained.

But others aren’t seeing as dramatic of an impact.

“It could be a lot worse. We could be like a lot of larger cities and have conditions that are a lot worse than now,” Merrill city administrator David Johnson explained.

Johnson says that including CPR, he knows of only two Merrill businesses closing. And adds that service businesses are adjusting.

“I think that people are pulling together. People are trying to help one another and trying to make it as much business as usual,” Johnson said.

It’s places like the Overboard Bar and Grill, which saw the opposite effect.

“We figured it would cut our food orders in half, but it actually doubled,” owner Greg Polacek said.

Even though they are 10 minutes outside of Merrill, customers kept coming into the doors.

“As far as customers, they are more than happy to come here and support to make sure we stay open,” Polacek explained.

That customer support was the same at CPR Computer Services, though it didn’t translate to sales.

“Everybody in this town is awesome. I’ve had customers come in here and hug me. Say thank you. What do you say to that,” Heuer said.

He added that he does have a job lined up, but the reaction from his customers has made the decision harder.

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