CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For many local business owners, the coronavirus and its impact is an emotional topic.
It’s not just about the bottom line for the owners, but all of their employees and their employee’s families depend on the revenue of those businesses.
“As a small business we felt a moral obligation and social responsibility to do the right thing,” Co-owner of Sycamore Brewing Sarah Brigham said.
Late last week Sycamore Brewing was among several local businesses leading the charge and temporarily closing their doors to help stop the spread of coronavirus. It’s a decision that continues to weigh heavily on Sarah and her husband who have 50 full-time employees.
“My husband Justin and I feel a personal responsibility to each one of those,” Brigham said.
She said they’ll continue to pay the salaries of all employees as long as they can. Meanwhile, other businesses are coming up with new services and new ways to bring in money.
“What I think is most important is how the businesses adapt and pivot,” Davidson Ice House Owner and Chef Jenny Brule said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Brule’s restaurant is now offering curbside pickup and delivery of bulk packaged items like grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and kale slaw.
“People can take them home and use them for days, and not have to come in and out of the restaurant,” Brule said.
“Cooking classes are about 75 percent of our business,” Chef Alyssa said.
The business has gone from eight or nine classes a week to none. Starting this week Chef Alyssa and her husband Andrew Wilen are launching their delivery service of fresh or frozen meals.
“We had always planned on doing delivery,” Wilen said. “We were working on this over the spring, but once the virus hit and the climate changed we accelerated that plan.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has requested a small business administration disaster declaration to aid in the COVID-19 response.
The request is the first step to provide relief/financial assistance to the state’s business owners.
We asked you at home what you're doing as a customer to support local businesses right now.
Here's what we heard:
-Buying gift cards. The business gets the money now. You get the goods and services later when it's safer.
-Using the new services businesses are instating--drive-through, delivery, take-out.
-Tipping more generously. Tip-dependent workers are feeling the pinch. Keep in mind, too, when you do take-out or delivery--someone has taken the time to package up and assemble your order.
-Buy from the company's online store, if possible.
Here's another suggestion we got, and it comes from a local business: Remember your favorite spots when the social distancing need dies down. Seoul Food Meat Company, which just announced it would be closing for now to protect staff, customers, and community sent us this statement: "The only thing we ask of our patrons at this time is to think of us once this is all over and put us on top of their dining list."