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NEWTON — Murray Anderson owns three businesses in Newton, and his father, Phil, owns the oldest retail store in the city.


All of those businesses have remained open during stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Laura Kelly. Those orders were extended through May 3 as the state fights the spread of COVID-19.


Staying open has not been easy. business is, in three of the four family businesses, slow.


“Even at my age I have never seen anything like this before,” Phil Anderson said.


He’s 87. The store he operates, Anderson Book and Supply at the corner of Broadway and Main, has survived the Spanish flu, two world wars, the Great Depression, the Great Recession of 2008 and everything in between.


This, however, is a new experience.


“Every place is a ghost town,” Phil Anderson said. "It’s lousy. We’re just hanging in there. We are open six days a week because we sell supplies for people that work from home. That is getting us by.“


Anderson’s is defined as essential because they sell supplies for business and home offices. His son Murray’s three businesses have stayed open as essential as well — a liquor store and two food service stores.


The hardest hit has been his restaurant Gurty’s Burgers and Shakes. The store does not have a drive-thru but is offering curbside pickup.


“Places that have a drive-thru are at an advantage right now,” Murray Anderson said.


His restaurant sales are down close to 60% this month.


“Typically a restaurant has one week cash flow,” Murray Anderson said. “When you are doing 40% of what you did, you will run out of money. I chose to keep my restaurant open and pay my employees.”


Some support has come in the form of gift card purchases — Conrade Insurance stepped forward and bought more than $10,000 in gift cards from local eateries. Charlesen Insurance followed suit with gift card purchases as well. Just this week someone bought $500 from Gurty’s.


“It is support like that you are happy to live in a small town like Newton,” Murray Anderson said. “I want to say thank you.”


Still, he said he plans to apply for the next round of small business aid and loans from the federal government despite an aversion to borrowing money to pay routine bills.


His 12 Brew Drive Thru, a coffee shop, is “doing well,” as is his liquor store, where customers call in orders and get curbside pickup.


No one knows just yet what the future might look like.


“Our world is changing every day,” Murray Anderson said. “We have our fingers crossed that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”