Carol and Dean Schroeder, owners of Orange Tree Imports, have seen a lot since first opening in 1975. They thrived in the era of online shopping and weathered recessions. They made it through the Monroe Street construction project that made even getting to their shop difficult. But they’ve never seen anything like the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It doesn’t have an endpoint,” she said. “That’s the scary thing.”
Orange Tree Imports is one of Madison’s most established specialty retail stores, selling everything from kitchen and home entertainment products to gifts and Wisconsin specialty products. Carol and Dean celebrated the shop’s 45th anniversary during the shutdown in May with a drive-by parade.
They have rapidly transitioned to online shopping and have been extremely appreciative of the people who have been purchasing gift cards to help keep cash flow coming into their business. They haven’t reopened the shop yet because their research suggests most of their customers don’t feel comfortable doing a lot of shopping in person right now.
“After 45 years, our shop has been part of our lives since we were young adults,” Carol said. “We value being part of our neighborhood, city, and county. It survived the challenging year of Monroe Street roadwork in 2018, and we know we can get through this too.”