MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Like all non-essential businesses, Brickmania had to shut down when the governor issued his stay-at-home order. Now four weeks later, employees are happy to be going back to work.
"What we've done is set up these stations in 20 foot by 20 foot sections minimum," said Brickmania owner Dan Siskind.
Brickmania has made a name for itself by making LEGO kits for kids of all ages, but the company's newest project is finishing the building blocks of a new workspace.
"It’s been exhausting getting ready for this moment,” said Siskind. “I've seen faces I haven't seen in weeks, so it’s nice. We are slowly figuring out how to work in our space again."
After the governor announced his stay-at-home order last month, Siskind laid off 10 workers and furloughed 30 more until he figured out how they could work from home. Now that the governor says non-essential businesses can resume operations, Siskind is slowly bringing most employees back to the company's 30,000-square-foot production warehouse.
"When the order came back, we were like, ‘Okay everything is back,’" said Siskind. "We called up everyone who wants to work come back in."
All Brickmania employees must use a single entrance, where they are met by a sanitizing station and a health questionnaire they have to fill out when they arrive at work. The company also put up physical barriers around each work station to maintain social distancing and staggered schedules so there are fewer people in the building at the same time.
"There are a few employees who have underlying health issues, and I think they have various concerns about coming back," said Siskind. "We're not forcing anyone to come back, especially because most people can do their jobs from home."
Even though he had to close two of his three retail stores during the shutdown, Siskind says his mail order business is up 40 percent over last year. He hopes that's enough to lay the foundation for a brighter future in a post COVID-19 world.
"We've gone from a bad situation to we're actually still here and with the support we are getting from our customers, we will continue to survive and thrive," he said.
Siskind says once employees got used to working from home, production was nearly at full capacity and he expects it to be at the same level right away now that they are back in their building.