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Lakefront businesses look forward to welcoming guests back for first Memorial Day Weekend since 2019

Both Big Lake Brewing and Apothecary Gift Shop in Holland, Michigan were restricted to only carry-out services in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The buzz inside Big Lake Brewing in Holland is a welcome sound. 

“It’s a lot happier having people in here interacting,” General Manager Jeff Genova says. 

 He says he’s excited about this Memorial Day Weekend after having a quiet dining room last year. Michigan restaurants were only allowed to do carry-out service until the beginning of last June, and even though the community put in their orders, Genova says it wasn’t the same without the travelers. 

“At he end of May we were getting busy, but nothing like what we’re doing now being open, even at 50 percent,” he says. 

With the half capacity limit, he anticipates pulling in double the business compared to Memorial Day Weekend 2020, thanks to more tourists and less restrictions. 

“Every little bit we get (in capacity) makes it feel better, and we’ve been busy,” Genova says. 

 Around the corner at Apothecary Gift Shop, Manager Jen Foley says when one business succeeds in Holland, so does everyone else. 

“It won’t be hard to beat last year’s sales,” she says. “The restaurants being open at bigger capacities will help us tremendously (because the customers) shop around then get lunch or dinner.” 

 The good does come with some bad, as Foley says it’s harder to hire help right now and Genova says he’s seen the same thing. 

“I think everyone in the restaurant business is having that issue (with) hiring kitchen staff,” he says. “Other people found other jobs (and) left the industry.”

Despite the challenges, Genova says he’s happy to have some fun in his dining room again and says the holiday weekend is one of the restaurant’s busiest of the year. Big Lake Brewing is offering a discount on pints to those with a military ID.

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