Coronavirus shutdown forces Clintonville children’s art studio out of business

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s been a week of reopenings in Ohio, with retail, outdoor seating at restaurants, and hair salons just to name a few getting back to business after being shut down since March.

More businesses are set to reopen by the end of the month, but the tough reality for some is that they will not be able to come back from the COVID-19 shutdown.

One of those businesses is Paper Moon Art Studio, a children’s art studio in Clintonville.

Owner Kristen Marek announced a few days ago she’s closing for good. 

Some of the kids that came here made a sign thanking her and saying they hope this isn’t goodbye forever.

Marek said it’s not, but it is time to close the studio, which has called the neighborhood home for five years, but like many other businesses, has been closed since March.

Cleanup for moving out of the space has already started.

“It was just a fun space,” Marek said. “I can’t count the amount of times that kids didn’t want to leave and said, ‘I love this place. I can’t wait to come back.'”

The space isn’t that big, so if the studio reopened and children were to come back, social distancing would have been a huge challenge. 

“My kids would say, ‘Turn off the water works, mom,’ because as soon as somebody asks me, I start crying,” Marek said. “It’s really hard.”

When Marek realized the studio wouldn’t host summer camps this year, plus the time she’s already lost, she said it would just be too big of a loss to re-open.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “I’ve met so many families and so many kids and we’ve had such great experiences here, I hope this isn’t the end of Paper Moon — it’s just a pause in this space.” 

Marek said she is looking into maybe doing some pop-up events when it’s safe. 

Another local business that catered to children – Firefly Play Cafe, located just down the street — also announced it is closing for good.

“I’m sad for Clintonville,” said Marek. “I’m sad there are other small businesses that are closing. Like I said, I’m sure I’m just the tip of the iceberg and that’s very unfortunate. I’m sad for other small business owners.”

In addition to the Clintonville businesses, the FireFly American Bistro (no relation to the play cafe) in New Albany announced Sunday it would also have to close permanently after five years in business due to the coronavirus shutdown.

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