KEWEENAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — One Upper Peninsula small business owner said he’s taking a stand against Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home-Stay Safe” executive order by making his message known downstate.
“We got hit with the first rounds of the orders and I watched the book of business just absolutley vaporize. I had about $600,000 dollars in the books ready to go, great spring lined up, we are going to get moving, and then I had to lay-off 10 people immediatley because the order went in, within five days, all of the business was gone,” said Erik Kiilunen, CEO of Neuvokas Corporation.
Erik Kiilunen said one of his businesses dried up over night, which forced him to take a look at his other investments. But after weeks of uncertainty, Erik made his own decision.
“We are going to open it up. I called everybody on my staff and said ‘do you guys want to come into work? Nobody is forced to work. If you want to, your welcome to. If you wanna stay home, you got the PPP, you get your paycheck, no big deal,’ and 90% of our people jumped onboard and so we’ve been piecing together work for the last 2 weeks and getting everyone lined up and starting to get business going.”
Kiilunen took issue with being told his business wasn’t essential. So he put pen to paper.
“All Business is Essential.”
And he believes in his message.
“I started to think about it and I just threw up a gofundme and I went over to our local radio station and had a conversation. Literally in 48 hours I raised $10,000.”
Erik has raised over $25,000 dollars for his billboards and his message since April 27th.
The 24 billboards are located around the Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing area.
Kiilunen has called May 21st as “Michigan Take Yourself Back to Work Day” and he hope’s his message makes a difference.