Most businesses across the country are having to change their usual ways of operating in an attempt to continue to serve customers and keep their businesses open both long and short term, during the COVID-19 crisis that has closed schools and caused nation-wide orders for social distancing.
Janette and Stephen Voorhies bought the Martin House in 2010. She said they are learning how to continue to run their business, and serve the needs of the clients, despite the crisis.
“There will be pivot changes for all businesses and business owners,” she said. “People will find businesses within their business they didn’t even know existed.”
Voorhies said that their plan is to do more Facebook Live events and update the website.
Though it takes four to six hours for her to prepare for a 30-minute Facebook Live event, she plans to do them more consistently, though she admits preparing for the events is “Like a job within a job.”.
“This allows people to still see what we have to offer,” she said. “It keeps the products in the store fresh and new. The world isn’t stopping, we just need to maintain a safe distance.”
Voorhies said items bought locally can be delivered within city limits, or picked up, curbside at the store.
She also plans to do other events on social media. Everything from bow-tying, chalk paint methods.
“People need to also keep busy, and remember to keep celebrating,” she said. “Some of the things I will offer on Facebook can be done with things you already have at home. We want to be positive in all of this too.”
Voorhies said that she hoped community members would remember to keep celebrating despite the stresses of the current situation.
“This is a tough time, but we will all get through it,” she said. “We have to remember to keep celebrating the good times, during this rough spot. Life is continuing to go forward, just a little differently for now. It is important to celebrate now, just as much as it has always been.”
When Bachman’s Farm Store launched its online store at the end of February, owners Scott and Suzie Bachman decided not to advertise.
“We decided we were going to wait a few weeks and the start advertising,” Scott said. “We never got the chance, things really started getting crazy for us at the beginning of March. Our online orders have shot through the roof.”
Orders for a variety of beef, pork and chicken products have come in from coast to coast; beef products are in the highest demand.
“Customers, especially along the coasts are telling us there is no availability,” he said noting that most orders have come from smaller towns and not metropolitan areas. “We also have more local people calling to have a pick-up order ready for them. A gentleman drive up here from Norborne to get hamburger because he couldn’t find any locally.”
Bachman said while their online sales have increased, they want local customers to know that despite the current situation, customers can come to the business door for assistance, or call ahead for pick-up orders.
The increase in sales has caused the store to occasionally run out of a product, but Bachman said they are usually able to restock very quickly.
The increase in sales has allowed them to also increase hours for one employee, who was hired to help cover for maternity leave. Originally the employee was promised 10-12 hours a week, but due to high demand, they are now being scheduled 30 hours a week; Scott and Suzie both are also working longer hours.
Bachman said he hopes that once the pandemic is over, they ave gained repeat customers, not just locally but online as well.
The Bachman’s have also chosen to give back, noting that while they are busier than expected, many other are not so fortunate/ He and Suzie have pledged 10 percent of their online sales to No Kid hungry, in order to ensure children are being fed during this time away from school.
“It is important to us to support others and we are doing our part to give back,” he said.
Lea and Andy McClean worked for months to prepare to open Shooter’s Taproom and Kitchen on March 23, and despite an executive order from the county, not allowing dine-in service due to the possibility of spreading COVID-19 effective March 21, the business opened. Lea, says they have been busier than she could have anticipated.
“We had our health inspection and were ready to open,” she said. “But we knew it was coming, with the way things were going. But it has been a blessing for us, we were able to develop our flow in the kitchen and get any kinks worked out.”
The 70-seat restaurant features craft beers, and while that aspect of the business is not able to be used now, Lea said that in the first five days of being open she had to drive to Kansas to pick-up another order, as certain items like the macaroni and cheese, are popular.
Just as many other restaurants, she says their supply of take-out containers are running low, and are hard to find. Suppliers, both local and statewide are out. Plastic-ware is also in high demand.
Lea also owns the SIP and noted that half of her business there has always been take-out and that hasn’t changed.
“We have been three times as busy as I expected, in terms of take-out, here at Shooter’s,” she said. “This community really does support local businesses, and that says a lot.”
All of the Constitution-Tribune’s coronavirus coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the C-T at www.chillicothenews.com/subscribenow to help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.