We can all agree that social distancing is necessary for the health of our communities, but it’s been catastrophic for many small businesses that rely on in-person activities to thrive. From restaurants to boutiques to fitness facilities, businesses have had to completely upend their normal strategies to figure out how to survive.
We work with a variety of small, local businesses and it’s been fascinating to watch how they have navigated through this uncharted territory. The main takeaways from all of them: flexibility and creativity. Things are not business as usual, and everyone is getting creative to make things work.
In the beginning there was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing their livelihood, fear for their employees. There was a moment of panic because we’ve never experienced anything like this before and then there was great leadership. There was resilience and grit. There was action. And they all began to pivot. Boutiques, restaurants, retail stores, fitness instructors creatively adjusted to the new realities of the coronavirus economy, pivoting to bring parts of their business online, connecting with the community directly on social media or launching creative side hustles.
CB Boutique owner, Nicole Ballin, started creating gift baskets to make shopping easy for her customers. Her girls put together Easter baskets, birthday baskets, Mother’s Day and graduation and offered curbside service. Michelle Caughey, owner of BeYoutiful Whimsy Boutique and Salon had to shut down the salon side of her business so she shifted her focus to her boutique and went all in on the Facebook selling platform Comment Sold. She ran her boutique on Facebook by doing Facebook Live videos every day so her customers could still shop and have their items shipped to them.
Our fitness facilities Custom Fitness and Flying Fitness started offering virtual classes online. Liz Wood, owner of the Quilted Cowgirl, turned around and used her quilting scraps to make face masks. Laurie and Jade with Pieces- A Design Mercantile offered VIP shopping to allow a personal shopping experience by appointment. Rustic Leopard had gift cards available on their website that could be emailed to the recipient. Amarillo Candle did contactless porch delivery and Karma Delivery Service stepped in and delivered EVERYTHING.
There is opportunity in every crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis for many small business owners that is unlike any other before. Our “normal” will never look the same but we will have a new normal that has made us stronger as business owners, as people and as a community.