In today’s post, LDP is again reporting on how 3 local businesses responded to the Covid crisis and what they are doing as we go forward from here. We always ask business owners/managers why it’s important for people to support local businesses as well. The three businesses highlighted today include Aaron’s Furniture, Belmont Equipment in Rolling Fork, and Chuck’s Dairy Bar.
Aaron’s closed for a week because of COVID-19 then reopened offering curb service. The doors were locked and customers would ring a bell for service. Like Britton Furniture, the stimulus checks helped Aaron’s survive. Once those were received, many people came shopping.
In addition to furniture and electronics, Aaron’s sells appliances, and they were in demand. 97% of their computers were sold for homeschooling children, another demand due to Covid-19. Furniture sales were down because customers were not able to physically see and try out items like sofas and chairs. Aaron’s is now allowing a limited number of customers in the showroom, and they are of course cleaning well and encouraging the use of masks and sanitizer.
Belmont Equipment did not close during the Stay at Home Order since they are an essential agriculture business. Their business did not decline significantly since this is a busy time of year for farmers. However, there are rarely a large number of customers in the store at a time, making distancing easy. They have hand sanitizer available and wipe down the parts counter frequently. Purchases of paper products and cleansers are limited now, because initially they were wiped out. Some of these back ordered items are slower to come into the store, but regular parts orders, etc. arrive daily.
Chucks Dairy Bar, like all food establishments, had to stop serving customers inside. Owner, Tracy Harden, said not being able to seat people was hard, as was encouraging people that were waiting outside to social distance. They delivered orders to elderly customers and took orders to cars in the parking lot. With the increased phone orders, Chucks hired an additional part time employee to answer the phone during the lunch rush. Tracy said they were so worried about having to layoff someone, but instead they were able to give someone a job, and they plan to keep her on, even though they can now seat people inside at 50% capacity. Chucks employees are taking extra care with sanitizing tables, counters, booths, and children are not allowed in the pool rooms at this time.
Eddie Jones with Aaron’s stated that it is so very important to shop locally because the City of Rolling Fork benefits from the revenue, and on a personal level it keeps their six employees working to provide for their families and to pay their bills.
When asked why it is important that residents do business and shop locally, the response from Belmont was that “We need jobs here, and it is important to keep Rolling Fork in business.”
Tracy Harden says supporting local is important “because without local support, businesses cannot make it. We’ve had a couple of rough years with the flood and need some good ones to recover.” She said she loves our town and wants to see everyone make it, and the more local businesses are supported, the more choices there will be in the future.