Southwest Michigan expecting a resurgence in shopping, tourism this summer

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 8:12 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN (WNDU) - Downtown St. Joseph and New Buffalo are starting to turn the page on COVID as local shops begin opening back up for business.

Forte Coffee recently opened in St. Joseph and is excited about being able to host customers in-store and build a rapport with them.

“They like to come into Forte Coffee and have us call them out by name,” Bryan Maynard, owner of Forte Coffee, said. “And know the sort of drink that they’re planning to have.”

“We have a system where we can set up an account for you, and so people come in and we just make their regular drink and charge their account. They want things to be familiar to them,” he said.

In New Buffalo, the shops are also starting to come alive with patrons eager to get out and show their support.

“I think it’s awesome to come up here and see it kind of somewhat back to normal,” frequent New Buffalo visitor Linnea Kirkham said. “There’s people waiting in line. And it’s nice to see them without masks.”

And locals are expecting it to only get better as the summer quickly approaches.

“I know I’ve heard that July first, a lot of the restaurants are removing their mask mandates,” she said. “So I expect to see that when we go into restaurants now, we won’t need the masks. So I’m assuming it’s going to get a lot busier.”

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