Small businesses have experienced slow and hard times during the Covid-19 pandemic, with much on their minds, being worried about how long they will be able to stay open, and how long they can stay afloat is a normal thing.
Joel Capolongo, the co-owner of Strong Hearts Cafe, a vegan restaurant in Syracuse, said that it has been difficult to stay open amid the pandemic.Capolongo went on to explain that sales are down more than half of what sales were like around this time last year.
“Overall I would say it’s been bad,” Capolongo said.“We’re staying afloat.You know, we’re not drowning, but we’re also not really making any progress either.”
Capolongo said that their biggest reason to stay open was to be able to keep their employees.
“Our main motivation for staying open was to keep people employed,” Capolongo said.“To keep money coming in, not only to pay our bills but so employees could get paychecks so they could pay their bills.”
Since shutting down the dining area of Strong Hearts Cafe, Capolongo has turned to online ordering.
This has been the first time the restaurant has done this, but Capolongo says it has made a big difference.
“It has been an adjustment but it’s been really good for us because a lot of people utilize that now to place orders.”
Other small businesses have turned to other options of getting their service or product out to customers as well.River’s End Bookstore in Oswego does the online ordering and also does delivery locally.Emil Christmann said that the local delivery was always an option before the pandemic.But it wasn’t strongly promoted at the time.
“If someone requested it.We would have done it in the past, in a heartbeat, you know, no problem.
But now, yeah, that program or that offering has really blown up now,” Christmann said.
Christmann is the one who usually goes around and delivers them personally, even though he can not interact with the customers, it is still something he enjoys doing.When he can not do the deliveries his stepfather Bill does the deliveries as well.
“It’s been interesting to kind of go out and see people at their own homes,” Christmann said.
“Not that we’re having these long conversations, or they’re inviting us in for tea or anything, you know what I mean.But it’s cool to see where people live and say hi, dropping off, and everyone really appreciates it.”
Some businesses have been affected differently from the pandemic.Riverside Artisans, a co-op art gallery in Oswego, has about 35 people that contribute to the business and only 10 of them are full members, who staff and pay the rent.Carl Patrick, one of Riverside Artisans members, said that this is not their main source of income.
“We don’t have to worry about putting food on the table because of the shutdown,” Patrick said.
The gallery is still open, but Riverside Artisans is going by appointment only, where you call ahead and let them know what you are interested in or looking for.
Riverside Artisans also has some of its artists open to doing commissions, for anyone looking for a certain piece of art.
Cathy Pemberton, the owner of Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen in Syracuse had to shut down and let go of her employees for the time being.She tried to be flexible in the beginning, before the shutdown, where she only did prepackaged cookies.Once the time came where it was clear that it would be safer to shut down, Pemberton made the decision to do so.
“So I ended up closing for almost three weeks, and now I am reopening tomorrow but on GrubHub only,” Pemberton said.
Pemberton started GrubHub for the first time on Tuesday, April 21.There will be a choice of select cookies.
Pemberton said she chose the ones that were always the most popular, and she is going to take it one day at a time.
“I am going to do that for the next couple of weeks, I’ll see how it goes, if it doesn’t take off then I’ll just close again,” Pemberton said.
Small businesses from all over have been faced with a lot of challenges.But each business in its own way has done many things to stay active with the community and with its customers.
One of the biggest effects for Strong Hearts Cafe was having to put a hold on the construction of a third location.But Capolongo is positive that Strong Hearts Cafe will grow from this.
“We hope when the pandemic dies down, and people are kind of getting back out and living their normal lives like they normally do, our new location will be up and running,” Capolongo said.“So we’ll be able to capture all those exciting people that are just happy to be able to go to a cafe and order lunch.” Share this:.