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Clothier plots a new course after COVID-19 pandemic

Tailor Michael Armmano has found new ways to do business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Melissa Marcarelli Photography
Bespoke Clothier Michael Armanno has found new ways to do business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Armanno loves fashion and the city of Jacksonville. But like many small-business owners, he is trying to chart a new course after the pandemic.

As the owner of Kalypso Couture, where he works as a designer and Bespoke Clothier, Armanno had hoped the challenges of the pandemic would not provide too many headwinds in starting his business. That has not been the case.

He had to close his Downtown brick-and-mortar store and now finds himself plotting a new path.

“There is no normal after COVID-19, and everything has changed. Even my industry has changed," Armanno said. "So it's all about being able to pivot from one to the next. And you know where we're at now, we're going back to the heart of what we did in our startup phase, 10 years ago.

“COVID-19 wasn't our only challenge. We actually had quite a bit of challenge just getting open initially. Through going through the red tape with the local community,” he added.

In finding a new way to do business, Armanno expanded his social media presence, through Bespoke Jax, to build community around the local fashion scene.

“I’m trying to connect now with my community so that way, 20, 30, 50 years from now, I get to have an impact here directly and that will only bolster what I can do with my business,” he said.

State lawmakers have responded with a new law, SB 620, that allows businesses to sue local governments if ordinances cause their income to fall 15% or more. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine. Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering whether to sign it.

Jamie is an award-winning, Emmy nominated broadcast journalist who serves as a host and reporter for WJCT Public Media.