(This is the first in a series of posts highlighting local businesses)
We had a bad 2019 and 2020 has not started out so well for the South Delta. There was the 2019 Flood that severely hampered the local economy, the 2020 flood, that hopefully will not be as severe as the previous one, and then came Corona! Small communities like Rolling Fork are struggling to survive in the best of times, but what about now? How are local businesses hanging on? LDP is talking to local restaurants and shops to find out how they are doing, what they’re doing, and why each of us needs to support these local businesses.
Today we are highlighting 3 local, and very different, retail establishments: The Green Apple Gift Shop, Britton Furniture, and South Delta Farm Supply. Each of these businesses responded to the Covid Crisis in different ways, but all of them continued to serve the public as needed.
The Green Apple had to close due to the Quarantine, Britton Furniture was able to stay open with permission from the City of Rolling Fork and modified hours and business practices, and South Delta Farm Supply as an essential business remained open. What sort of changes did each of these businesses make to continue to serve their customers?
Green Apple, closed for a while, but was still available for funerals, then reopened offering curb side service a few days of the week. People were able to purchase graduation gifts, happies, plants, and other items by phone or in person outside the shop. The items would then be brought outside to the customer.
Britton Furniture as a large store, was easily able to have customers social distance inside. They modified their business hours, did not make deliveries or accept any trucks with orders. Jennifer and Brad while continuing business felt it was important to protect their customers as best they could. They do have hand sanitizer available for use and are cleaning and wiping down regularly.
South Delta Farm Supply increased their cleaning practices, made sanitizer available, and erected a barrier to keep people at an acceptable distance. Auto shop services were able to continue.
The Green Apple is now back to regular indoor operating hours, but require the use of sanitizer, and masks by customers, and the number of customers allowed in the store is limited. Lacy and Amanda, both stated that the use of social media was a lifesafer during this time, to both highlight items available in the store, and to let customers know when they would and would not be open.
Britton Furniture has now resumed normal operating hours and is delivering furniture again. As a side note, while the furniture company saw a sharp decrease in customers and business initially, they stated that the stimulus payments were a “God send” for them. These payments, which were intended to help local businesses, did just that as customers saw them as an opportunity to purchase new furniture and appliances.
South Delta Farm Supply said that business was slow during the quarantine and has picked up some, but needs to do more.
All of these businesses plan to follow state and local guidelines and keep with the increased cleaning practices as they go forward with business. You can feel safe doing business with them, so get out and shop!
Of course all of these businesses agree that shopping local is very important and that everyone should try to do so, a few of the reasons given by business owners were:
- “Walmart is going to survive, no matter what – it’s the small, local businesses that will not.”
- Money spent locally turns over stays here and helps our economy.
- Amazon does not support our local schools or community events – it’s the local businesses that do that.
- As people shop locally they become more aware of all the things that are available here; they don’t have to go out of town for most items.
So, Support Local, Buy Local, and keep Rolling Fork’s businesses in business!