Local businesses have had to find alternative services to offer customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Myca Bunch, Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce president, said area businesses reacted quickly to the social distancing measures and restrictions on social gatherings.
“I think our local businesses have been resourceful and they’ve reacted pretty quickly to the changes and everything,” she said. “It’s kind of impressive to look at those adjusted hours and the (additions) of delivery and curbside pick-up, they rolled into action pretty quickly.”
Curbside pick-up and delivery are the main services that local business have implemented, said Sheila Crane, executive director of Garden City Downtown Vision.
“Restaurants are offering delivery and carryout, curbside service and many retail businesses are also offering curbside and delivery if they have a website, allow online ordering and they will ship their items to you,” she said.
For businesses without a website or who don’t have items listed on their website, it’s a challenge, Crane said, but some have stepped up to the plate and have created a website or are in the process of adding online ordering.
Bunch said businesses are trying to maintain as much normalcy as possible while adhering to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and CDC guidelines.
“They have to stay in business, so they’re just trying to roll with the punches,” she said. “But they’re taking precautions, as well.”
It’s a difficult time for small businesses, Crane said.
“This is a struggle for all businesses across the board, no question,” she said.
Mike Wade, owner of Traditions Soda & Sandwich Shoppe, said the COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on his business.
Wade said he’s seen a reduction of about half, if not more, of customers.
“It’s been pretty slim, a lot of people are afraid to get out,” he said. “We’re struggling a little bit.”
This is why they decided to add delivery as an option a week ago, Wade said. It helps.
“It’s just another option that we actually haven’t really had to do before, but we thought if that would help keep us open we would do that,” he said. “We’ve had some response from it, not overwhelming, but we’ve had deliveries every day.”
While they have carryout and delivery, Wade said there is still seating available inside Traditions for customers.
“The health department said as long as we keep people six feet apart, seating should be alright,” he said. “I know there’s a few places have closed, but we’re still trying to hang in there.”
Shelly Porter, owner of Porter’s It’s A Beautiful Mess, said they are offering curbside pick-up, in-town delivery and scheduled and/or private shopping appointments.
Porter said they’ve had people take advantage of all three services, and are planning to launch some other campaigns to allow people to “make purchases while still maintaining the safety of social distancing.”
They’re doing all they can to keep the business running during the COVID-19 crisis, Porter said.
“We’re trying to navigate through this and to be there for people either as a store or person to person, because we want to be uplifting and encouraging to everybody,” she said.
Ryan Klaus, owner of Klaus Wood Pellets, said they have had to make few changes to their business because while they do sell things like wood pellets, grills, grill accessories and outdoor furniture they also sell meats and spices and are considered an essential business.
“It’s been business as normal, but we are a little busier due to the run of meat and other supplies that people need to cook at home,” he said. “We do offer curbside assistance, like a lot of people are, but we’re still very open and trying to think of different ways to keep our customers happy and provide them with products they need.”
Bunch said businesses that need assistance should visit the Chamber’s website as they have both local and national resources.
“The biggest thing for employers to know is they are not alone,” she said. “In this situation we’re all doing what we can to help people ... and they can give us a call if they need help and we will try to help in whatever way we can ... Nobody’s going through this alone.”
Crane agrees and said Downtown Vision can also help. She also recommends those who have lost their job in relation to COVID-19 or are temporarily unemployed, visit KansasWorks.com, which is keeping track of new jobs that are available.