Year In Review: Bluestem Closing Its Doors Top Business Story of 2020

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We know we haven’t been around all year, but that’s not going to stop us from reviewing the year that was in 2020. Yesterday, we told you about some of the biggest stories in news for 2020

Today, we take a look at some of the biggest stories in business.

  1. Bluestem Closing Its Doors – In a shocking moved announced in the second week of November, Bluestem Brands announced it would be closing its doors by April of 2021.In the letter, obtained by Your Daily Local, the company said it would be moving operations to its Eatonton, Ga. location. The move means positions in Irvine will be eliminated. “This was a difficult decision based on reduced inventory levels that have been years in the making and an expensive lease with limited options,” the letter said.
  2. Northwest Announces Branch Closures – In September, Northwest announced it would be closing 42 of its 205 branches as part of its plans to optimize its branch networks. In making this announcement, Ronald J. Seiffert, Chairman, President and CEO, noted, “Our customers’ banking preferences continue to evolve to favor a more digital banking experience and the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified and accelerated these preferences.  This branch optimization plan reflects our ongoing efforts to ensure we are well positioned in our industry to provide the community bank experience that is valued by our customer base while also enhancing our strong digital and mobile banking presence. 
  3. Youngsville VFD Purchases Richard’s Restaurant, to become Station 61 – On Nov. 6 the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department completed the purchase of Richard’s Family Restaurant. The move came as fire and emergency services attempt to find new ways to bring in revenue. “In a time when it is difficult to find fundraising avenues and with decreasing reimbursements for fire and emergency services from insurance companies we decided we should seek out another funding stream,” the letter said.The restaurant will be renamed Station 61, after the VFD, and will remain open to the public. It will be run as a non-profit and money generated from the restaurant will be used to offset costs at the fire department.
  4. Warren SBG Program Nets Large Number Of Applicants – The Warren SBG program, designed for businesses and Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) nonprofits who can demonstrate a loss or expense related to COVID-19, received over 70 applications in two rounds of the application process. The program has aided as small businesses have attempted to stay afloat during the pandemic. “We’ve certainly been happy with the response and the people who have submitted,” said Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry Director of Chamber Operations John Papalia. “The ask was quite large”
  5. Whirley-DrinkWorks! Gets Kudos for PPE Production – In a year where businesses have largely had to adapt Whirley-DrinkWorks! did so to tremendous results, focusing on N95 masks, KN95 masks, fabric and other masks, surgical masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer, face shields, medical gowns, and cleaning and disinfectant products. “From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Whirley-DrinkWorks! recognized the need for properly sourced and manufactured PPE products. As we implemented our COVID-19 practices and procedures, it was apparent that PPE would be an integral part of creating a safe work environment,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin.