Local businesses are booming

Store owners respond to the pandemic

More stories from Samantha Geiger


Samantha Geiger

Downtown Eau Claire on a cloudy winter day on February 21, 2022

March 11, 2020, marks the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Over the past two years, the world has experienced five different variants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron. Information regarding the various variants can be found on WHO’s website

The pandemic not only shut down all of the Eau Claire County schools but also multiple local businesses across the county. Tangled Up in Hue, located at 505 S. Barstow St. Suite B, shut down for a while at the beginning. 

“We did not have a great online eCommerce site. We were doing minimal business online,” Jamie Kyser, owner of Tangled Up in Hue, said. “In a way, it forced us to pivot and grow our online platform.” 

Wintership Tattoo, located a few blocks down the street at 202 S. Barstow St., also had to shut down at the beginning of the pandemic for two months. 

“Within a few weeks, less than a fourth of people who came in wore a mask,” Jonah Lemke, owner of Wintership Tattoo, said. “Ever since, business has been booming. We’ve gotten busier since the pandemic and people are more excited when they come in.” 

Another few doors over is Revival Records, located at 128 S. Barstow St. According to Billy Siegel, owner of Revival Records, he didn’t have to close their doors because of the pandemic. Instead, they remained open and found themselves busier than ever. 

“The pandemic caused people to have a lot of downtime, so naturally their listening time went up,” Siegel said. “We had a lot more people coming in, especially on the weekends and during the summer.” 

Two years later, Tangled Up in Hue is still affected by the ongoing pandemic. Much like other businesses, they are having issues staffing, Kyser said. They also aren’t hosting in-person classes like they did pre-pandemic times. 

While the pandemic caused some stressful times for the business, Kyser said it forced them to build a new eCommerce, electronic commerce refers to buying and selling goods online, as well as putting more energy into their screen printing business. 

“We recently decided to keep masks optional and up to the individual customers,” Kyser said. 

Over at Wintership Tattoo, Lemke said the pandemic didn’t cause harm to his business since being shut down. Lemke and his crew of artists constantly get a new stream of people who come in looking for new ink. 

“On Wednesdays, we do walk-ins beginning at noon, and we try to get in as many people as we can,” Lemke said. 

Masks are not required at Wintership Tattoo and are completely up to the individual. 

At Revival Records, masks are also optional. Siegel said his clientele is getting younger as the years go by. While clientele changes, best sellers never do, with Fleetwood Mac, Phoebe Bridgers, Beach House and hip-hop remaining customer favorites. 

“In my store, you’d think that we would see more males coming through, but actually it’s the opposite,” Siegel said. “Gender doesn’t matter, we see the same amount of men and women come through, in recent times we’ve seen more women.” 

For more information regarding COVID-19 and policies, you can visit the EC County Response Homepage as well as the city of Eau Claire Health Department.  

Geiger can be reached at [email protected]