Jonathan’s Story: A Furniture Artist Copes with the COVID-19 Lockdown

Meet Jonathan, an entrepreneur who hopes to open his own shop with his partner in Akron, OH.

What’s your living situation like?

My partner and I are currently renting to own a house. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life. It’s a little bit of a quiet farm town.

Has the coronavirus impacted your ability to pay for things?

It’s definitely impacted our ability to pay our rent for the house. While my partner is on disability, work has stopped for me.

My side business of selling redone furniture has slowed down because people just aren’t leaving the house anymore. And even if they are, they can’t pay for the furniture I made because they might be out of a job. I didn’t realize it until recently but staying at home all day and not being able to do anything is expensive.

What’s your profession?

You could say I’m a jack of all trades. Technically, I would be considered a Customer Service Associate. I’ve done all sorts of jobs in that field. I’ve even been a barista.

Someday, I’d like to open up a store of my own that includes furniture I’ve redone.

Could you talk more about what your store would sell?

Well, my partner is a Wiccan, and I’ve always been interested in the religion. I want to incorporate a Wiccan background and hopefully appeal to a different audience. As much as possible, I want to make it just an interesting and fun shop to go into. I love to make art and redo furniture, so I definitely want to sell those kinds of things, but I also want to include homemade crafts from local artists.

How do you and your partner stay grounded in these times?

We’re working on our respective projects and bringing the house up to our standards. There’s always a project to work on.

We are also doing lots of “trash for treasure” hunting. There’s never a dull moment. Monday nights – trash nights – are the most fun of the week. I found a sound bar, a power washer. I’m really into house plants and bookshelves.

We constantly have new stuff coming in and our friends like to go digging in our furniture.

What does a day in your life currently look like?

My grandma recently had surgery to get a pacemaker, so my partner and I are trying to help her as much as possible while still abiding by the quarantine. Most days once we wake up, we try to stop over and help her with what she needs, which includes going to the store if we need to.

Apart from that, we’re working on various projects with the assortment of stuff we get from Monday. Every so often we get friends who come through to purchase what we make. These days, we’re just trying to get the house together and stay sane until the world gets back to normal.

Are you currently looking for a job?

I’m looking for more of a permanent, regular employment so I can afford to do my side projects. At the moment, it’s tough to get a job because things are kind of shaky right now.

When we get our store up and running someday things will be easier, but until then I need a nice payday.

How are you feeling about your situation right now?

My partner and I normally live in our own bubble because we don’t have a TV. However, I’m staying connected to the news through my phone now more than ever. If things start to go south here in Akron, we’re going to head out to Manchester where my grandma is and stay with her. I’ve never seen anything like this before, so I don’t know what to expect, but I try not to get overwhelmed by all the conspiracies and the hype.

It was really stressing me out for a while. I’m just trying to work on our house trying to have some sort of normalcy again.

We’re just trying to do what’s advised and stay home. There are so many conflicting stories. Every day the news is definitely changing. It’s kind of scary, but it is what it is.

What would you like to do after this is all over?

I really want to go to the beach and have a couple of hours of uninterrupted beach time. I just need to recharge at the beach. A little refresher would be nice, or maybe a long weekend trip.

Have you had to dip into your savings to help weather what’s happening?

Actually yeah, I had a little bit of a 401(k) from a past job when I worked for a university. I recently had to cash that in. Once work stopped, I didn’t want to just live off government assistance. When everyone was buying a lot of toilet paper, we needed enough money to sustain ourselves for a bit.

How do you feel about SaverLife?

I think it’s a really cool idea! I love couponing and freebies. It’s kind of like a lifestyle trying to kind good deals. There’s a thrill to it. I also like prizes and incentives.

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