'Hard times right now:' New tool aims to connect Racine Co. businesses with customers

Michelle Schimian

RACINE -- There may be limits on customers and in-store operations, but the Racine County Economic Development Corporation is still trying to help businesses amid the "Safer at Home" order due to the coronavirus pandemic. A new tool aims to do just that.

In the heart of downtown Racine, Michelle Schimian's store, RG Natural Babies, is classified as nonessential, meaning she's limited to online orders and curbside pickup only.

"It's just hard times right now, and we need more support all around," said Schimian.

Laura Million

A new project from the Racine County Economic Development Corporation looks to expand the reach of local businesses like retailers hit hard amid the "Safer at Home" order.

"We want to make sure that those companies and businesses can help get that message out there because they may not have that same platform that others may have," said Laura Million with the RCEDC.

That platform is the "Open for Business" tool on the RCEDC website. Using geographic information systems, it shows all the essential information for businesses still open during the pandemic, like their modified hours, location, contact information and services offered.

Michelle Schimian

"If businesses don't make it through this, it's gonna make our jobs a lot harder," said Million. "We want to be able to help our existing businesses survive this, and then flourish after we come back and everything restarts."

It's an effort to connect businesses with customers at a time when we're physically separated.

"It just shows everyone in the community wants to work together so that we can all survive," said Schimian.

It takes just a few minutes for business owners to sign up to be featured on the site. CLICK HERE to learn more.