How Local Retailers Are Adapting During COVID-19

April 10, 2020

Many of Lynchburg’s small retail businesses have donned their entrepreneurial caps and been quick to react to the social and economic changes required to stay safe from COVID-19 and still remain “open”. Local business owners know that to help the community and keep their businesses moving, they need to adapt to suit the times and the way their customers need to shop right now. Many have even gone above and beyond to help in the midst of this crisis, whether that means carefully disinfecting all products before sale or making supplies for the battle against this disease.

On A Mission

The small business community is one that has been most affected by “stay at home” orders and changed hours. Yet many of these businesses are pressing ahead and depending on their loyal customer base to help them get through. To that end, they are relying on online and phone purchasing, along with special delivery.

Gilded & Live Trendy or Die

Gilded and Live Trendy or Die are both owned by the same local small business owner, Stephanie Atkinson-Nemcovich. These two shops have transitioned to solely online ordering, and are also scheduling virtual appointments with staff so customers can find the perfect card, gift or outfit for the spring season. Gilded has even started working with customers to handwrite and personalize their cards prior to delivering, as a way to go the extra mile. They’re also offering special purchasing and shipping discounts to make shopping even easier, along with curbside and carry-out options for supplies like beer and wine. Traditionally only a brick-and-mortar store, Gilded and Live Trendy or Die are great examples of quick thinking and adaptation as a small business in the face of unique challenges.

Givens Books and Little Dickens

Givens Books and Little Dickens, the oldest book and toy store in Lynchburg, has been a family owned business since its inception. Their focus now is on keeping the values of literacy and education that they hold dear going strong through this crisis. To do so, they have adapted their online site to accommodate social distancing regulations by offering order-ahead, curbside pickup and delivery options with no minimum purchase necessary. They are also working to maintain community health by ensuring all products are sanitized before being picked up or delivered.

Beeswax Candle Company

Beeswax Candle Company is owned by Kathy Shaw, who has been making candles for about two decades. Having had health needs in the past herself, she knows the value of keeping a clean shop and making sure others stay healthy, too. To that end, her online ordering platform is wide open for her customers with free shipping over a certain order amount. Her staff is routinely washing their hands and keeping physical exchanges to a minimum. This business knows that candles are a great comfort to many during this time, and they are showing just how wellness-conscious a small business can be.

Taleteller’s Fly Shop

A local hub for fly fishing aficionados, Taleteller’s has updated their online shop for ordering. Owner Ethan Martin is adding stock, and he also offers free tutorial videos so that customers can learn the basics of fly tying from home before they go fishing as an out-of-the-house social distancing activity.

Meanwhile Back on the Farm

Meanwhile Back on the Farm owners Heather and Bobby have adapted to current needs by offering free shipping and curbside pickup on their products, which include bags, apparel, small goods and even a new “quarantine kit” designed to help get customers through this social distancing season. They are also one of many businesses that are generously making and donating supplies for local healthcare organizations to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Bikes Unlimited

Bikes Unlimited owner John Seinar knows that one of the best ways to keep from feeling cooped up while social distancing is to get some fresh air and exercise. Therefore, he and his staff have adapted to current health and safety needs by selling and renting bikes through video chats and thoroughly cleaning every bike that enters and leaves the shop. Their equipment and supplies are also available online, with free curbside pickup and delivery. They’re also encouraging the purchase of gift cards for later shopping trips. While they’re being challenged by COVID-19, they are staying optimistic about the future and doing what they can now to help the community.

Support the Mission!

These local businesses and many others may be limiting interactions with customers, but their willingness to change with the times is heartening and encouraging to the community and local economy. Let’s continue to support them however and whenever we can, so that when this difficult time has passed, Lynchburg will be more economically stable when things normalize! You can learn more about how local businesses are supporting their customers and how we are responding to COVID-19 on our website.

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