KARL MANKE, owner of Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop on W. Main Street in Owosso, reopened his business on Monday, May 4, despite state executive orders mandating the contrary where salons/barbershops are concerned.
During the Monday evening regular city council meeting via Zoom, it was once again made publically clear during council discussion, that the city would do its best in legally upholding state orders currently in place due to the COVID-19 crisis.
On Wednesday, May 6, Manke was cited from the Owosso Public Safety Department for two violations related to executive orders – misdemeanor charges. Owosso Public Safety Director Kevin Lenkart clarified on Thursday morning,
May 7 that the department will not issue any further tickets. “It is now in the hands of the court system,” shared Lenkart. He also shared that he has been in regular contact with the county health department so they are aware of the situation. It is unknown at Thursday press time, if LARA (MI Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) will step in regarding Manke’s barbershop licensing.
Manke, who has been a barber for six decades, expressed that he needs to work. “Financially, we were beginning to feel a little bit of pain,” he said, referencing his wife who does their finances. Manke owns the 2,400 sq. ft. commercial space with apartment in Owosso. “We’ve got a good credit rating and I hate like heck to see that good rating go down,” he shared, “and I was starting to feel oppressed.” He has tried for unemployment benefits and his wife told him they “did get $160 the other day.” Manke also said he did apply for some type of small business loan but never heard back. He also thinks his stimulus check did come through, possibly on Wednesday. Several people have gifted him money recently.
According to Owosso Main Street/DDA director Josh Adams, Manke was not one of the businesses to apply for the revolving loan funds and/or emergency response funds from the city of Owosso. Those 21 businesses have now been granted loans – though importantly, these are actual loans from the city. Adams explained that not every business owner was going to be “comfortable taking out a loan right now.”
Following a professional policy of confidentiality State Rep. Ben Frederick was not free to comment on the particulars regarding Manke’s reopening. Frederick did share that he and his own family would continue to follow executive orders and “would like to see everybody else do so as well.”