Ice Cream Shop Owner Wants Customers To Stop Yelling At Staff Over Mask Requirement
SPRING LAKE, MI – A western Michigan ice cream shop defends its staff for demanding in-store masks after customers became so unruly police were called on Saturday, July 25.
The owner of the Front Porch ice cream shop in Spring Lake took to social media to demand respect from her employees, especially as they work during the coronavirus pandemic. Kelly Larson, the owner, said the message reached over 80,000 people.
The message came after customers were rude to staff on several occasions over the weekend.
The company, which does not have a drive-thru or walk-in kiosk, is enforcing the governor’s order requiring masks inside. In the post, Larson admitted that they also don’t like wearing masks, but objections should be addressed in a different way.
In an interview with MLive, Larson said that so far into the pandemic, she expects people to abide by the mask’s mandate and, at the very least, show respect to employees working on the front lines.
Since most of her employees are teenagers in their first jobs, Larson said she feels even more protective of them when customers get aggressive.
“I had to use my voice,” she said. “I have to speak up not only for my kids, but for all of these kids, that’s what our frontline workers in Grand Haven are. They need a lot more respect and love from us than they have received.
During the Saturday night rush, a group of customers were so defiant that Front Porch employees called the police, Larson said. When the police arrived, the customers left peacefully.
“My message is to complain to the right people,” Larson said. “I’m not political one way or another, I own a retail store, we don’t do that. But I have to stay in business. It’s my number one job is to protect my employees and to protect my business. If we allow people to enter without a mask, the health department will shut us down. “
Front Porch is one of four ice cream shops Larson owns in the Grand Haven area, but the only one without a drive-thru option. Front Porch offers curbside delivery for those who cannot comply with the mask’s mandate, Larson said.
“Most of us are silent because we have been taught not to make waves,” she said. “We are retailers, I have to make everyone happy. This is my training and this is my training for my staff, so it is so different for us to have to say no to people and not do everything we can to make them happy.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stricter mask mandate on July 17, which stated that companies could not assume that people entering without a mask were medically exempt. The ordinance tightened Michigan’s mask rule, which requires people to wear masks in all crowded indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Whitmer added outdoor spaces to the list and put in place penalties – up to a misdemeanor of $ 500 – for those violating the mask order. Companies that do not enforce the mask order are subject to suspension of their licenses.
Two weeks ago, Pronto Pup owner Carl Nelson posted a 1,200-word rant on the company’s Facebook page denouncing the mask’s mandate among other hot topics. The post also denounced the Black Lives Matter movement, expressed support for the Michigan militia, compared reporters to Adolf Hitler, called for a cut in police funding and, bizarrely, claimed to have seen an alleged Muskegon woman murdered for years. after his death .
The next day a protest and counter-demonstration crowded the Grand Haven Corn Dog Hut. Speaking to MLive, Nelson declined to say if his business had improved, but said he was “happy” with the incident because it sparked a conversation.
As of Monday morning, Front Porch’s post had nearly 400 comments, mostly in support of the company’s position. Larson said customers came with flowers and offered to buy the staff’s pizza in response to the post.
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