#PeopleofNEI: John, helping small businesses keep doors open

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people and places shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI #PlacesofNEI

This week's feature:

John is the owner of First & Wilkerson Designs located in #DTFW at 127 West Wayne Street. We spent some time with him to learn about how his business has survived COVID-19 by connecting and partnering with other local businesses. “We knew we had to pivot. The impact of COVID has definitely impacted my margins but that money went back into the community and it helped us survive. We have had businesses reaching out to us about fundraisers that they needed shirts for. Out of those profits, we have given a certain amount back that is fair. Things like this are keeping us busy during this time. There have been moments that were really rough but there was no way I was shutting my door. There were days that it felt like we were working twice as hard for the same amount of money but that was a shift we made to stay alive. We had more single orders than ever before. Everyone is feeling the impact. We have worked closely with other small businesses and entrepreneurs like Outer Grace Boutique, Gypsy Vault, and Theoplis Smith III. We love helping people open doors. We have a store and we want to help people get their name out there. Having each other’s back is what makes it awesome. What can we all do to help each other out and make sure we make it through difficult times like this? I feel like so many people are answering that question in their hard work and actions each day. That’s why I never want to leave downtown.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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