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Horn highlights sacrifices, safety protocols made by restaurants in series of hometown videos

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, on Wednesday released a video showing support for the state’s hospitality and tourism industry and highlighting the additional safety protocols and investments businesses across the state have made as they seek to continue serving their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horn said his role as chairman of the Senate’s Economic and Small Business Development Committee inspired him to showcase the incredible resilience the industry has shown during COVID-19 and investigate for himself the impressive measures it has taken to keep both customers and employees safe.

“The hospitality industry is one of Michigan’s largest and most successful industries, but since the first shutdown order last spring, our businesses have struggled to stay afloat, and too many unfortunately had to close their doors,” Horn said. “Employers have proven they care about their customers’ and employees’ health and safety by spending untold amounts of money implementing new protocols and policies. We need to give them a chance to show us they can safely stay open.”

The video was filmed late last fall, but now that the state has reached the end of the most recent shutdown, Horn wanted to join local leaders and business owners from his hometown of Frankenmuth in supporting local shops and encouraging folks statewide to lend a supporting hand to business owners in their own communities.

“It’s no secret that folks in the industry have been hurting, and I hope this rollercoaster ride is finally over,” Horn said. “If you are able, I highly encourage you and your family to spend some money down on your local Main Street and help these people out.”

The video features many local leaders from Frankenmuth. Horn spoke with Jamie Furbush from the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce about struggles local shops have faced and how the chamber has provided tools to help Frankenmuth businesses navigate new protocols.

Horn also made stops at some recognizable establishments, like Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth and the Bavarian Inn Lodge, where he discussed the unique challenges each business has faced in their respective industries and the major investments they have made to keep everyone who walks through their doors safe.

“We’re excited to hopefully start seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” said President and COO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Bill Parlberg. “It has been a bumpy ride for many businesses across the state, but we want to thank everyone for the support — especially our loyal customers who trust us to keep them safe. We opened our doors back up on Monday, Feb. 1 for indoor dining and we welcome everyone back, hopefully soon!”

Horn agreed that he is relieved to finally see some movement in the right direction and called this a long-overdue chance for restaurants to show what they have gone through.

“I know some people may be a bit hesitant to begin this transition and some may not feel quite comfortable to return to these kinds of activities, and that’s fine,” Horn said. “But I’ve witnessed firsthand just how much these establishments have done to ensure everyone’s safety. I would encourage everyone to give your local restaurants and businesses your support and a chance to show you just how much they value not only the people who work for them, but the people whose business keeps their doors open.”

You can view a video of Horn’s stops across Frankenmuth below. Individual videos can be found on the senator’s website at Click on “Video” under the “In the News” tab.


Editor’s note: A print-quality copy of each photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting Click on “Photos” under the In the News tab. Full individual videos from each stop can also be found on the senator’s website by clicking “Video” under the In the News tab.

PHOTO 1 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, walks the showroom floor of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland and discusses with President and CEO Wayne Bronner the measures the world’s largest Christmas store has taken to keep both their customers and employees safe.

PHOTO 2 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, speaks with Jamie Furbush, president and CEO of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce, about what the pandemic and shutdowns have meant for the community of Frankenmuth and businesses across the state.

PHOTO 3 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, discusses the changes made during the pandemic with Bill Parlberg, president and COO of the world-famous Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. Like many restaurant presidents, Bill and his team are proud of the measures they have put in place that have allowed them to maintain a safe atmosphere, and he said he looks forward to seeing people walk back through the door.

PHOTO 4 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, tours the Bavarian Inn Lodge with Vice President Martha Zehnder Kaczynski as she talks about sacrifices they have had to make and the creative ways they have managed to safely serve customers and provide peace of mind for their employees.