Kent businesses progress through the COVID-19 pandemic

These are the current downtown shops currently serving customers as of April 6, 2020.


Main Street Kent and downtown local businesses are working to adjust to the needs of the city’s residents with the growing pandemic, COVID-19. While Ohio Governor Mike Dewine issued an order not allowing dine-in options to prevent the spread of the virus on March 15th, local businesses like Tree City Coffee and Bent Tree are still servicing drive-thru and take out orders.


Bent Tree owner, Mike Mistur, expressed his gratitude towards the continued support from customers during these difficult times. Mistur explained that as of Thursday, April 2nd, Bent Tree will temporarily be closed for approximately 2 weeks in hopes of protecting the employees and customers from the growing pandemic. 


Bent Tree employees are currently practicing social distancing with one another and maintaining their space while working in the shop. Mistur said preventative steps have been taken to maintain the health of his employees such as increased sanitization, hand washing and frequent replacement of gloves. The temperature of his employees is checked before they start their shift as well.


Tree City is also going about reducing the risk. Co-owner, Evan Bailey, conveyed his attention to their employees and customers during COVID-19. Open communication between management and employees has been encouraged if any concern for their well being or comfort arises. 

“The ball keeps moving. It’s hard to predict what will happen next,” Bailey said. 

While it is difficult to plan ahead, Bailey anticipates the business will continue to succeed through the pandemic. Tree City opens at their regular times; 6:30 Monday-Friday, 7:30 Saturday and 8:00 Sunday, but closes at 4:00 p.m daily.


Kent City Councilwoman, Heidi Shaffer, explained the city is going about supporting local businesses in every way possible. While there is a concern for businesses that had to shut down, most restaurants and some retailers remain open to some extent. 

The Kent council hopes to express the importance of supporting local businesses that don’t have the luxury of financial security like corporate chains during the pandemic. 


Main Street events for the month of April have been postponed until further notice. These events consist of Putt Around Downtown which was originally scheduled for April 4 and Seven Courses of Kent originally scheduled for April 26. 


“It’s hard to choose new dates farther out when we don’t know how long this will take to resolve. We’re trying to stay focused and positive, as we all try to deal with and come out on top of this thing,” said Director of Main Street Kent Heather Malarcik. 

Theresa Lovrak is the downtown and construction reporter. Contact her at [email protected].