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WAITE PARK — Two area home renovation business owners said the coronavirus shutdown has slowed the start of construction season, but home projects could pick back up quickly as statewide restrictions lift.

“Prior to the pandemic… business had been good,” said Ryan Corrigan, CEO of MCI Carpet One in Waite Park. “We do see a different recovery on the commercial side versus the residential side. We feel like the residential business will recover fairly quickly.”

MCI, which does flooring sales and installation for residential and commercial clients, was considered an essential business under Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order.

At first, many customers delayed projects, Corrigan said. The company’s medical industry clients were forced to postpone all projects to protect their staffs and patients.

But enough projects continued, he said. “We were able to continue with the majority of the work we had in process.”

The company’s showroom in Waite Park is large enough to enforce social distancing, Corrigan said. Customers and employees set up appointments to minimize contact.

Corrigan predicted residential projects will likely bounce back quickly, as homeowners stuck inside with limited travel options invest in their properties. The commercial side, he said, could face a “longer term process to recover those projects.”

Medical industry clients and shuttered businesses, reeling from the shock of the coronavirus shutdown, could take longer to reconsider renovations.

Home investment should continue

In the residential field, “you’re seeing construction going on, you’re seeing houses being built,” said Craig Schoenberg, owner of Schoenberg Construction and former president of the Central Minnesota Builders Association. 

When the pandemic reached the state, many customers delayed projects due to financial worries and safety. “People did pull back from allowing us into their homes,” Schoenberg said.

However, he believes people idled during the stay-at-home orders did more research on home improvement.

“I did get an increase of estimate requests,” he said.”Things are starting to pick back up again. I think there was just a little bit of a shift there.”

Work that did continue was slowed by the virus, he said. As a general contractor, he had to lengthen project deadlines to keep distance between workers.

Shipping delays caused by closures across supply chains slowed projects as well, he said. “For the most part, you can get everything; you just need to wait a little longer for it.”

The home construction…