Every other month, a group of local female entrepreneurs get together for lunch to discuss newsworthy topics impacting their businesses. Naturally the main topic of concern at the latest get together, held at female-owned Rise No. 1 in Inwood Village, was coronavirus.
“Small businesses are the backbone of this country. If we want our economy to be sustainable through this pandemic, we really have to support or neighborhood community,” says luncheon attendee Morgan Pieper, founder of Feed Me Pronto, a Victory Park grab ‘n’ go shop that stocks high-quality, organic, and non-GMO versions typical convenience store fare.
While the shelves of national grocers are unnervingly empty, local and gourmet stores such as Foxtrot, Eatzis, and Pieper’s Feed Me Pronto still have plenty to offer. “We’ve had an uptick in sales, but our shelves aren’t sold out,” she says. “We got a huge shipment from our supplier last week, so if anybody needs essentials, we pretty much have everything.”
It makes sense for local markets with essential goods to remain open during this time (although Feed Me Pronto has graciously begun doing “porch drop offs” for called-in orders of over $100 — just call to order ), but several other businesses, such as gyms, boutiques, and coffee houses started voluntarily shutting their doors in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus even before the city-wide orders.
New grazing table café Fount in Uptown announced over the weekend they would closing their storefront and limiting service to delivery-only (a move that’s currently on hold until Uber Eats gets the business up and running).
Sister stores Canary and Cabana on West Lovers Lane are now appointment-only as of Monday, March 16, as is Ylang 23 in The Plaza at Preston Center. Bishop Arts boutiques such as Beatnik, Magic Hour, Marcel Market, and All Good Things are offering free shipping and discounts on online shopping. Commerce (the beautiful hotel gift shop within the Adolphus) is offering free shipping and 20 percent off their virtual store with the code “stayhome.”
After initially opting for an abbreviated class schedule to allow more time for disenfecting, Dallas-based Class Studios announced Sunday that it would temporarily close its doors through the month of March, a move that several other local studios, including Shine Hot Pilates, One Lagree, and Session Pilates and newly opened PowderHeart, have also made.
“At first, I thought this decision sounded so draconian and drastic, but learning what I have over the course of the last 48 hours – the situation at hand is drastic and unthinkable,” Class Studios founder Jasmine Zutter said in a release, which also announced upcoming online and at-home workouts for members. “I have no idea what this will look like on the other side, but I hope that with your support and understanding we will emerge stronger and at peace knowing that we did the right thing.”
Companies such as Apple or lululemon, which have decided to close the majority of their retail stores, can continue to pay their hourly employees. Small businesses, which tend to have smaller cash reserves, may not have that option, even if they can apply for loans. (It should be noted that Dallas recently passed a paid sick leave ordinance, which went into effect in August of 2019.)
To help support your favorite small businesses from home, buy gift cards, shop online, keep your gym memberships, and pick up food from your neighborhood restaurants. Pieper recommends creating a care package of local goods to deliver to the elderly or others who aren’t able to leave their homes. “It’s something that’s not only supporting the community, but also giving back to the community,” she adds.