Posted in News on April 21, 2020


Data points to necessity of returning to work, even in gradual capacity.  Find full report HERE

4/21/2020 // ZEELAND, MICH – Lakeshore Advantage, alongside nine local chambers of
commerce, has been polling Allegan and Ottawa county companies weekly for the past four
weeks to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Since the survey began on
March 15, 315 unique businesses have participated.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said they were open, and of those, half are running at 50% or
less capacity. Fifty-seven percent of respondents have laid off or furloughed employees since
March 15.

“Lakeshore Advantage conducted this weekly polling for two keys reasons,” said Jennifer
, President, Lakeshore Advantage. “First and foremost to ensure our team’s
programming and resources meet the changing needs of area employers. It also will allow us to
benchmark our community with more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. conducting
similar polling.”

The polling shows the greatest needs for area businesses include:
  •  Financial relief
  •  Return to work action plan
  •  Personal protective equipment
According to the poll data, 82% of respondents indicated applying for, or planning to apply for, state
or federal funding. Twenty-three percent of respondents last week said their company would not
survive four more weeks of a stay at home order.

“We businesses cannot survive an additional 70 days of a stay at home order,” said Mark
Forbes, Vice President, Special Projects of RCI Adventure Projects headquartered in Allegan.
“Even with the Paycheck Protection Program loan, if stay at home continues, our employees will
get paid but we will have no capital left to start the business back up.”

Survey data shows that area employers are pivoting and responding to the need for personal
protective equipment. Twenty-six percent of respondents indicated their companies have
switched their product mix to make essential products. Examples include pivoting from office
furniture textiles to making face masks, distilleries making hand sanitizer and companies
networking their 3-D printers together to make face shields and sneeze guards.

“The team at DeWys has been working diligently to shift our product mix to meet the growing
needs of our customers in the medical, food processing and material handling sectors,” said
Mark Schoenborn, President of DeWys Manufacturing. “We welcome direction from the state for
all sectors to safely return to work.”

Lakeshore Advantage is hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 23 at 1:00pm called Getting
Back to Work: How Employers Should Prepare
. The goal for the webinar is to share
pertinent information with the business community so employers can begin preparing to safely
return to work with public and employee health being a priority. Registration HERE.