Jessica Wartenweiler said her event space, The Tinsmith, lost approximately $ 400,000 in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was not eligible for state or federal relief.


As the wedding season returns, many local venues that were closed due to COVID-19 last year continue to face uncertainties about their future. Some owners said they didn’t have access to federal funds that kept other businesses alive.

Last week, Dane County raised the capacity limits for indoor events starting Wednesday. And while this reopened the door for many wedding venues in time for summer, some local venue owners say the damage was done. As in many industries that thrive on face-to-face interactions, the recovery is likely to take some time.

“The pandemic has certainly had an extremely devastating impact on our local industries,” said Sarah Davidson, vice president of the Capital Area Chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events, which represents about 40 companies in the greater Madison area. “We are the world of mass gatherings.”

Almost half of the 150 storefronts on State Street were boarded up in downtown Madison last week. COVID-19 has devastated the local economy and cost thousands of jobs, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors. Looting and vandalism following local police violence protests in Minneapolis, Kenosha and elsewhere caused further damage. What can the city do to bring back its signature shopping and entertainment corridor? Jason Ilstrup, president of Downtown Madison Inc., a corporate and booster organization, makes a guest appearance on this week’s podcast and gives Milfred and Hands his recipe for future success. State Street musician Art Paul Schlosser appears as a cameo. Milfred and Hands are promoting the Wisconsin State Journal editorial this Sunday calling for State Street to become a pedestrian mall with more space for shops, cafes and public art. To do this, buses must leave State Street.

Ben Martinelli, who opened the Eloise near Mount Horeb with his wife Stacey last August, said the pandemic had “had a huge impact” on his business.

“It pretty much closed our store and we lost 90% to 100% of our planned sales,” said Martinelli. “If we have to postpone or cancel more events, especially in the next few months, it would be pretty devastating.”

Jessica Wartenweiler, co-owner of The Tinsmith, said her calendar was booked with events before the downtown Madison venue opened last April. Wartenweiler, who bought the former warehouse in 2018, said the tinsmith has so far missed about $ 400,000 in expected revenue due to the pandemic.


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