The Coronavirus Effect
Within the first year of operations at The Coffee Shelf I learned how panic buying at the grocery stores can affect my business. On any given day it is common for me to purchase 14 to 16 gallons of whole milk. One particular day I went to Food Lion with a storm approaching from the coast to discover the shelves bare of milk.
I’ve since become friends with the inventory manager. She knows to set aside milk when there is a rush by the public. In return I often provide her some of our yummy pastries.
During this global crisis she has gone a step further, providing her mobile number so we can communicate, allowing me to remain stocked to serve customers. One example of a community I’ve witnessed starting to come together.
A Community of Families
It is difficult to find the words to appropriately describe the outpouring of support for my small business, and other small businesses in the Chapin area. I have little doubt this is going on in small towns across our country.
Just yesterday, March 17th, a group of my regulars came to The Coffee Shelf. A large group. As they filed in each one of them said something similar to the following, “we are here to show our support.”
They remained for hours, placing multiple orders.
While my regulars were in my lobby supporting me, Lake Murray Flower shop stopped in and left us a bouquet of flowers with a note of support. Last night Facebook announced a plan to support small businesses around the world with grants or advertising credits.
And then this happened.
Yesterday evening, following my workout at Chapin Yoga Center, another small business which needs support, I decided to stop by The Coffee Shelf. It was our first day closing early and I wanted to check for any disappointed customers outside. I discovered something different.
Many of my employees, as a surprise for me, were inside scrubbing the floors and doing some extra cleaning on the tables and chairs. This is not the first time my team has done something like this to support me. But I was still nearly speechless. I’m rarely speechless.
As a town, a state, and a country, we are going to get through this. I believe there are challenges ahead we don’t yet foresee. But we will all work together, even if our “normal” is reset after this.
Everyone Deserves Support
I will forever be grateful for the way my community is already banding together to support small business. I feel I am going to need this support even more in the coming weeks. But I will also encourage everyone to show support to the employees at the large businesses. Food Lion. Publix. Dollar General. Others.
You’ve all seen or read the news about the hoarders. Imagine for a minute having to interact with this bad behavior on a daily basis. I can see the strain on their faces. While you are supporting me, also think about them. Give a word of encouragement.
And then there are our true heroes. Anyone in health care. Nurses. Security. Administration. Doctors. Receptionists. They are all going to be tested in ways they perhaps never imagined. Many of these amazing people are customers of mine. Their faces are already telling me a story. Please think about them and give whatever support you can.
Why do I believe there are more challenges ahead? To find an answer, I’ll kindly ask you to read what is going on in Europe. In my opinion that is a preview of where we are heading.