Minnesota man's box program gives back to struggling businesses

As many small businesses deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, one local business owner is trying to soften the blow. 

When COVID-19 struck Minnesota, Jonathon McCarthy, owner of AMI Swim School, was forced to close up shop.

“We had completed our best registration cycle ever for the spring session; we were going into it on cloud 9,” he said. “As a business owner, having to tell all of your employees that there’s just no work available for them... to just all of a sudden close the doors for an unknown amount of time, it’s been very scary and hard to navigate.”

Now, MCarthy has decided to dive into a new project. 

He’s created small business boxes, which contain gift cards and products to restaurants, bakeries and other businesses in Carver County that are enduring economic hardship. 

“For a while there, I was not doing anything. I was kind of just sitting at home, following the news and everything like that, and then I got an itch that I needed to do something,” he said.

With prices starting at over $100 for each box sold, donations will also go to the Waconia food shelf. 

So far, 10 local businesses are participating, with the goal to expand in other communities. 

During these times of uncertainty, McCarthy says that a little bit can go a long way to help keep small businesses afloat. 

“I wanted to see how I could help these other businesses that are going through these same feelings that I am, and just kind of provide them a little bit of income without them doing any work," he said.