The owner of a “beloved” music store in Hastings, Michigan became emotional as he sent a brutal message to the state’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer as he was forced to close down his business for good amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Steve Walker told WXMI-TV last week that Whitmer’s aggressive stay-at-home order, which has been in effect since March 24, has destroyed his business. Though other businesses in the area were allowed to stay open, Walker Music & Textile Company was deemed “non-essential” and forced to shut down.
“I’ve been sitting here for 60 days watching my neighbors do business day in and day out,” Walker said. “They aren’t thriving but they are surviving. There’s no reason in hell I couldn’t have done the same thing. None. And that’s what makes me angry.”
He went on to say that he tried to save his store by calling the unemployment office and applying for grants through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, but he was turned down every time. “There was only $32,800 grants for Barry County in total,” he said. “Of that $32,800, five businesses were the recipient of that money.”
Walker explained that even if he had been given a grant, it would have only been a temporary fix for a long-term problem as bills continued to pile up while Whitmer’s stay-at-home order was in effect. “I don’t want a stupid handout from the government, I want my hands untied so I can work,” he said.
Walker, who ran the business for 11 years, said that the store was more than just a job for him: it was his dream. “This is my dream. Shutting it down. Closing out this phase of my life,” he said while bursting into tears during the interview. “It won’t be a retail shop anymore and it won’t be an inviting environment for kids to come and be loved and to learn music.”
Walker wishes he didn’t have to close his store, but he doesn’t feel like he has any other option. “I put the responsibility of that on the governor’s shoulders because if she had been reasonable, this would not be happening,” he said. “But oh well. That’s the way it is. That’s life. And, I have to move on and deal with it.”
Whitmer has been hit with widespread backlash from Michigan residents who are sick and tired of her strict lockdown measures. Walker’s story will do nothing to help Whitmer’s reputation among Michigan patriots who have had enough of her draconian restrictions.