WEDNESDAY, March 18 — Jerry Jodloski and Cari DeLamielleure haven’t had one customer this week.
Jodloski, owner of Jammin’ DJs in Lansing’s Stadium District for nearly three decades, doesn’t have a single booking on his calendar for the rest of the month. Next month too. And May doesn’t look too promising. After all, it’s hard to run a business based on event entertainment when all of those events have been totally canceled.
Next door, at Batter Up Bistro, DeLamielleure has a closed sign posted out front. And she doesn’t know when it’ll come down. The quaint, breakfast and lunch shop — known for its old-world methods and seasonal flavors — doesn’t really specialize in carryout orders. So, with its dining room shuttered, the kitchen stays closed as well.
The soon-to-wed couple are just two local business owners treading water as coronavirus and its business-halting precautions spread across Greater Lansing and much of the state of Michigan. Under executive order, crowds of 50 cannot gather, much less hire a DJ. Restaurants, like Batter Up Bistro, must also keep dining rooms closed.
So, what’s the plan?
“That’s like asking how you’re going to rebuild your home while the fire is still burning,” Jodloski said.
Jodloski and his six part-time DJs typically play weddings, corporate events, high school shows, private parties, graduations, birthday parties and events for local bars. Every single one has been canceled. And with a business largely dependent on merriment, Jodloski worries it might be months before daily life returns to normalcy.
“I’ve just accepted the reality that we’re going into stealth mode,” Jodloski said. “On a personal level, we have things in place where we can weather the storm for a while, but whether or not we can totally get through this depends on the rest of the community. My heart goes out to Lansing. We might be able to get through this, but our businesses depend on the rest of Lansing being able to rebound too. I’m not playing this violin for myself.”
DeLamielleure closed her doors on Monday, a personal, precautionary measure that became a gubernatorial mandate. By executive order, the dining room won’t be able to reopen until at least March 30. In the meantime, she and her fiance are working on a few interior renovations and keeping their spirits high.
“We’re depending on these other venues. We’re depending on the bars,” Jodloski added. “Here’s what I’ve been wondering about: When they come back, will these events still continue like normal? It’ll be interesting to see how fast daily life can rebound. The world might become this totally different playing field. We don’t know.”
“We’re fully prepared that this whole thing might last longer than most of us really expect.”