As Stephen Covey, author and businessman, said: “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” To mitigate the financial effects of the coronavirus, many business owners throughout the country are making smart decisions.
In response to forced closures, some are changing how they promote their businesses, whereas others are adjusting their service models. Many are switching up product offerings to answer emerging needs.
Here are 10 examples of how small businesses are demonstrating resilience through ingenuity.
1. Made by ME
Made by ME, a chocolate and pastry shop in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia is one of many small businesses adapting.
Owner and pastry chef MaryEllen Salamone shared, “My business [is] chocolate. Although it does taste amazing, the visual look is what catches people’s eyes and then the taste.” But, she said, “foot traffic during this unusual time has all but stopped.”
To keep customers coming and supporting her business, she’s trying to flood social media, sending email blasts, offering curbside pickup, even offering local deliveries. She’s also reached out to her local business association, asking them to share her product offerings and hours of operation on their mailing lists and social media platforms.
“I have to adapt in order to keep my small business open…I must say, I have some amazing customers, and the support I’ve received has been humbling.”
In a gesture of community support, Salamone recently donated handmade chocolates to the staff at Chestnut Hill Hospital.
Photo courtesy of MaryEllen Salamone.
Maggio’s, a popular and established Italian restaurant in Southampton, PA, has come up with creative ways to keep their customers happy and fed.
In addition to offering family-style meals to feed 4, daily specials, curbside pickup and delivery, they’re promoting virtual block party dining. “This was an idea offered by one of our staff. It sounded creative and interesting and we thought we’d try it,” said Gina Schubert, president of Maggio’s.
How does it work? Organize a video conference dinner with 4 or more of your neighbors. Designate one person in your group to call in your order. That person then picks up the food curbside or requests delivery to their home. Once the food arrives, everyone from the block picks up their order from the order taker’s front door.
To promote virtual block party dining, a $25 gift certificate (valid when the restaurant’s doors reopen) will be issued for every $100 spent, and Maggio’s can even provide games for the event.
In response to business challenges brought about by the coronavirus, GreensGrow, a Philadelphia garden center and urban farm, launched its first e-commerce store.
Online orders are available via curbside pickup. Perennials, house plants, vegetable starters, herbs, soil blends, seeds, gardening tools, and even honey, are available for purchase.
With stay-at-home orders in place throughout the country, what better way to spend a day than gardening?
4. Mecca Family Farms
Mecca Family Farms, a wholesale produce distributor in South Florida, has started selling to the public, and at an affordable price. For just $10, Floridians can stop by the Palm Beach County farm and pick up a box of assorted vegetables or fruits or a single box of one vegetable type.
They’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you don’t even need to step out of your car. Drive up with cash in your trunk and pop it open when you arrive. The business also accepts Venmo.
The best part? A portion of the sales goes to a local charity that provides food for those in need.
Photo from Mecca Family Farms’ Facebook page.
5. Color Me Mine
Color Me Mine, a ceramics art studio in Glen Mills, PA, has creatively shifted its business focus.
While their doors may be closed to the public, their crafts aren’t. They’ve started offering delivery of to-go kits to customers within 10 miles of the store. Individual and family kits are available, complete with a chosen ceramic(s), acrylic paints and brushes.
6. City Fitness and Yoga Home
Forced to close their physical locations, some fitness and yoga studios have taken to the web.
City Fitness in Philadelphia, for example, is offering live stream classes for $10 a week.
On a similar note, Yoga Home, based in Conshohocken, PA, is offering access to their video library and daily live stream classes through monthly membership programs. To bolster the community during what is a stressful time for many, the yoga studio is also offering free classes held daily at noon. Users simply submit a one-time credit card payment of $1 (for security purposes).
7. Soccer Specific Training
Many kids’ activities have also been affected, and with school closures, finding ways to keep children active and entertained can prove difficult.
Thanks to technology, though, some children’s gyms, karate studios and youth sports are turning to live video conferencing for online practices and coaching sessions.
In some instances, instructors and coaches are recording and posting content online so that students can view the videos at their leisure. In other cases, kids are being encouraged to record and post videos of themselves on social media for evaluation.
Soccer Specific Training in Wall Township, NJ, is one example, offering live streams of practices. To participate, players just need a ball and 4 cones (or similar objects that can be used in place of the cones).
8. 28 Mile Distilling Company and KOVAL Distillery
Distilleries in many areas are producing another alcohol-based product—hand sanitizer.
Just outside of Chicago, 28 Mile Distilling Company is focusing on supplying local first responders and their retail partners with hand sanitizers.
KOVAL Distillery, known for organic and kosher gins, whiskeys and other spirits, is making hand sanitizer too. Along with other businesses, they’ve started a GoFundMe to help make hand sanitizers free to first responders. To date, they’ve raised more than $67,000.
IPromo.com, headquartered in Northfield, IL, typically known for its customized merchandise, such as branded mugs and clothing with corporate logos, has started to offer items much in need these days.
The e-commerce site has begun selling thermometers, protective eyewear, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and more.
10. Sister Anchor
Lindsay Smith, owner of Sister Anchor in Martinsville, IN, creates handmade candles, specialty gifts, home decor, custom clothing and spirit wear. Prior to stay-at-home mandates, she also hosted painting parties and fundraising events.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, customers have been requesting customized items through her website and business Facebook page. In response, Smith has begun creating humorous quarantine t-shirts and taking orders for customized Class of 2020 graduation items.
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Smith.
While it’s certainly not business as usual these days, small business owners are adjusting and persevering. Perhaps even more inspiring is that many are actively contributing to the welfare of their communities too.