Makers Social and Studio 614 owner Megan Pando furloughed 20 part-time employees when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shuttered non-essential business to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Megan Pando give birth to her son, Nico, on Feb. 24, a month after she opened her second business. Makers Social is a Franklinton bar where people can create crafts, from leather keychains to wooden six-pack caddies, while sipping cocktails.

The pregnancy was a surprise, but Pando had dreamed of opening a space like Makers Social for years. In 2015 she opened Studio 614 in the University District, a venue where people paint while drinking wine. 

That first month, Makers Social brought in triple the revenue Pando had projected. She expected the next few months to be full of work while also caring for a newborn. Her husband, Dave, who owns a paintball park in Grove City, would be doing the same. 

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Three weeks after her baby’s birth, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shut down the state’s bars to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. That day, Pando and her husband closed all three businesses. Pando furloughed her 20 part-time employees. 

She has enough savings to keep the businesses afloat for two months, she says. As of mid-April she hadn’t yet dipped into the savings. But she also hadn’t paid her bills. Her application for the Paycheck Protection Program was pending in late April, but as the government’s stimulus ran dry, Pando reined in her hopes. (When this article went to publication, a second stimulus bill was being voted on by the House of Representatives.) 

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Next, Pando and her husband will figure out which bills can go unpaid. Makers Social’s landlord agreed to postpone rent until it reopens. 

These days, both she and her husband spend almost all of their time at home, enjoying their baby. “I can forget about everything ... when [Nico’s] looking up at me.”

With Ohio businesses slated to start reopening May 1, Pando was hoping Studio 614 could reopen for groups smaller than 10 and that her husband’s paintball park would be allowed to reopen, as it’s outdoors. 

Since giving birth, Pando has visited Makers Social a few times. But instead of focusing on the empty bar, she’s being productive. “I wanted to paint a mural in each of the restrooms. So I’m going to play some music and get on the ladder and paint these murals.”

Amy Braunschweiger is a freelance writer. 

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