Harlan business owner shares how she is working through pandemic

Harlan business owner shares how she is working through pandemic

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A screenshot of business owner Ellen Walsh-Rosmann as she speaks during the daily COVID-19 press conference on May 12.

DES MOINES — A southwest Iowa woman is doing everything she can to keep her business up and going during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ellen Walsh-Rosmann owns Milk & Honey in Harlan. She and her husband, Daniel, also help run his family’s farm.

She spoke, via a video call, during the COVID-19 daily press conference with Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 12, about the Grant, the way she has had to alter business on a day-to-day basis, what she has learned along the way and how she plans to bounce back once the pandemic has passed.

Ellen talked about how she has had to "pivot" the restaurant business and how she and her husband have helped "pivot" his family's farm operation.

For the family farm operation, they are offering services like a drive-through farmers markets and curbside pick-up of goods, she explained.

They, along with other similar businesses, are doing this to “respond to consumer demands,” said Ellen.

As for the Small Business Relief Grant, it helps the family farm operation in many different ways.

For example, the money helps pay for the increase in staff that was needed. And it also aids the operation in paying the farmers the family works with.

As for the restaurant, Milk & Honey, Ellen has had to, like many others, made adjustments such as providing an avenue online to order food because dining in is not an option right now.

In this restaurant’s case, dining in is not available for a couple reasons, one being the size of the restaurant.

It can hold about 50 people. Ellen said she and the staff just didn’t know how to make this work. Furthermore, the staff size is small, too. Only six people are currently employed there.

"And we don't really want any of them to get sick [or] else we’ll have to completely shut down the restaurant," said Ellen.

She reiterated that she is really grateful for all the support small businesses across Iowa have received from the Governor and Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) because small businesses make up a large portion of the revenue for the state.

And Ellen said it is very important to continue supporting small businesses because they are still struggling and the pandemic is not over yet.

One way of doing so is by patronizing these establishments on a regular basis, she added.

After Ellen finished speaking, Reynolds complimented her by saying she was "tenacious, innovative and determined."

"And so I'm not surprised at how you've really adapted and moved through this really difficult time with COVID-19," the Governor added. "So thanks for sharing your story today."

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