As government and local officials continue to urge citizens to work from home in an effort to encourage self-quarantine, large gatherings and sporting events continue to be postponed or outright cancelled and the term ‘social distancing’ embeds itself firmly into the American lexicon, local businesses have justifiably begun to panic. On Monday morning Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo issued a state-wide proclamation declaring all gyms, casinos, and movie theatres to close as of 8pm. Additionally, restaurants and bars will be limited to offering takeout only. While the announcement comes in the interest of public health, the potential result threatens to devastate small businesses across the region.
With the significant drop in customer frequency and a general reluctance to frequent the many towns and Main Streets that rely on foot traffic to survive, many local businesses are now faced with empty establishments while expenses continue to mount. A survey published last week by Fresh Chalk found that 80% of businesses in Seattle – a city that has been hit particularly hard by the effects of the outbreak of COVID-19 – saw drops in overall demand, with 45% seeing a “significant decrease”. What is concerning now becomes frightening when considering future prospects. The same survey found that 60% of small businesses were considering cutting back on staff as well as wage cuts and 35% considering closure an imminent possibility.
True to the persevering spirit and ingenuity of the Hudson Valley itself, local businesses are finding ways to come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In Hillsdale, NY the longtime town staple the Hillsdale IGA has waived its delivery charges for the time being giving customers the option of staying home without worrying about the extra cost. In the spirit of communal collaboration, Hillsdale-based Countryside Concierge & Detailing is offering pick-up services from the IGA, a potentially critical help for the older population in need of basic supplies. “We offer a concierge service where we can shop for people; tutoring, and more. We are also offering rides to the IGA with rates depending on where people live,” says Frank Camacho, owner of Countryside. “Business is slow for now but in general we offer transportation to all major airports in New York as well as to trains and events.” This kind of teamwork is just one way local businesses are navigating the present uncertainty- but it doesn’t end there. Owners across the area are finding creative ways of adapting to the economic crisis and residents are responding in turn to show support. Here are a few ways to help your local small business survive the current crisis:
To make orders by phone, contact the Hillsdale IGA at (518) 325-4341 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include the best phone number to reach you in your email and your address.
Countryside Concierge & Detailing is offering pick up service. Contact Danielle at (518) 325-3505 for rates. Countryside can stop at multiple stores for your convenience.
Purchase Online Memberships and Gift Cards
Buying gift cards online is the quickest way to financially support local businesses who are temporarily closed. The biggest advantage the gift card option offers is its positive impact for both the business and customer – the business gets cash immediately, the customer can shop later. This provides the biggest boost for those businesses that have been closed or partially shut down by state mandate including local movie theatres. Two of the staples for community movie-goers The Moviehouse in Millerton, NY, and the Crandell Theatre in Chatham, NY, may have been forced to temporarily suspend their services, however locals don’t have to venture far to continue to show support. In addition to gift cards, The Moviehouse offers two levels of memberships for those looking to experience not only discounts on movie tickets, but invites to special events as well as discounts to participating Art House theatres as part of its Art House Visiting Members Program. Those who purchase memberships now will receive their membership number and membership card(s) via regular mail as soon as The Moviehouse re-opens. The membership will be effective for 1 year from the date the beloved theater re-opens its doors rather than the date of purchase. Similarly, the theatre known as the “living room” of the community, the Crandell Theatre has officially closed until April 16. Still, frequenters of the beloved Hudson Valley theatre can visit the Crandell’s website to donate or become a member. The Crandell offers a wide variety of member benefits including discounts of movie tickets, free popcorn, coupon books, and free birthday admissions for members of the Crandell.
For more information on gift cards and membership options for The Moviehouse visit themoviehouse.net
To find out what you can do to support the Crandell or become a member visit crandelltheatre.org
Stay local when shopping online:
Charlotte Merwin runs Merwin Farm and Home, her own antique and consignment shop in Millerton, NY, a town locally famous for its community of interior design and antique businesses, another market that has been harshly impacted by the effects of the coronavirus. Over the past week, like many owners in town, Charlotte has shifted her model to include taking orders by phone, delivery, and online shopping. “I felt compelled to launch my website over the past week, and like many of my fellow business owners in town I’ll be taking orders over the phone as well.” Charlotte says of adapting using social media, “I’ll also be posting items on social media, customers are more than welcome to private message or email me if they find something that interests them. If anyone prefers not to leave home, I will find a way to deliver items to them as well!”
For many local businesses who rely on customer walk-ins to pay rent and make payroll for niche markets, they understand this vital aspect will be unable to temporarily support the impending expense. However, the online shopping experience does not have to be reserved only for large-scale shipping companies like Amazon or super-stores like Walmart. Elizabeth’s Jewelry & Fine Gifts in Millerton has begun to offer a personalized shopping experience via FaceTime. Customers can call the store and setup digital appointments using the app to shop like never before. The next time you find yourself perusing the digital aisles, search your favorite local business or find them on social media to see what they offer in-stock online.
To contact Merwin Farm and Home visit @MerwinFarm on Facebook or @merwinfarmandhome on Instagram.
To set up an appointment with Elizabeth’s Jewelry & Fine Gifts call (518)789-4649, delivery and shipping options are available. Elizabeth’s will be shortening its hours, please check social media or call the store for updates.
Order in and Take Out
One of the most prominent markets to feel the squeeze of the coronavirus is the food industry, namely food establishments and restaurants. As a result, many independently-owned restaurants now offer takeout and delivery with some even teaming with companies like Uber Eats and Postmates in order to expedite the switch. In Craryville, NY, Random Harvest Market and Cafe is offering its customers the option of pre-ordering groceries or market items for “pick up on the porch or delivery to your home if needed” while offering to take credit card payments over the phone. Like Random Harvest, the Oakhurst Diner in Millerton, NY, is offering customers free delivery within a 5-mile radius on behalf of staff and volunteers who are dedicating their time (and gas money) to keeping local businesses afloat. Similarly, the Church Street Deli and Pizzeria in Copake, NY is offering curbside pickup for takeout orders, giving customers the option of having food delivered to their vehicle if they are uncomfortable picking up inside. Even liquor stores have started to follow suit. Trotta’s Fine Wines & Liquors has introduced express curbside pickup, bringing purchases to customer vehicles with delivery options coming in the near future. If you do utilize this generous service, perhaps consider adding a few extra dollars to the tip whether you order by phone or stop by to pick up. Tips may not directly contribute to business revenue, but it helps the employees who will see an inevitable drop in their salary due to the lack of traditional patronage.
Unfortunately, not every restaurant can be buoyed by traditional take-out options already in place. Local favorites like 52 Main in Millerton, The Woodland restaurant in Lakeville, CT, and Baba Louie’s in Hudson, NY, are known to attract customers with their atmosphere, live music, and an expansive bar. In order to counteract state mandates, these establishments are changing their formats to accommodate customers with dining out and delivery options as well. “As of 8:00 pm last night, we joined the growing ranks of businesses closed in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” said Eleanor Nurzia, owner and operator of 52 Main, Millerton’s favorite gathering spot for locals and travelers in search of a friendly atmosphere and great local tapas. “But we are more than happy to announce that we are available for to-go orders.” 52 Main will also be offering free delivery within a ten mile radius of Millerton with every $35 purchase and will make beer and bottled wine specials available with every order (see below this article for 52’s full to-go menu).
52 Main is offering free delivery and curbside pickup from 4-8pm. Free delivery will be available within a 10 mile radius with a $35 minimum purchase ($5.00 fee for delivery outside of ten mile radius) To order from 52 Main’s takeout menu or request delivery please call (518)789-0252 – see below article for full menu
The Woodland is currently offering one free roll of toilet paper with every eligible takeout order, to find out more and view menus and specials visit thewoodlandrestaurant.com
Random Harvest will be taking orders from 10am-6pm Tuesday 3/17, Thursday, 3/19 and Friday, 3/20. Further dates to be determined. To place an order call (518) 325-9895 or email email@example.com please be sure to include your name and phone number or pickup at 1785 Rte. 23 Craryville, NY 12521
For delivery from the Oakhurst Diner in Millerton, NY, please call (518) 592-1313
Trotta’s Fine Wines & Liquors will be open regular hours, please check social media or call the store for updates at (518)789-3535
To order curbside or traditional takeout from the Church Street Deli call (518)329-4551
Remember, Businesses Care about You
Despite the tension this kind of unprecedented economic uncertainty brings local businesses in our area, they still remain endearingly aware of consumer caution. As Martha Keeler of The Bank of Greene County says, “We take customer and employee safety very seriously. We’re doing everything we can to keep our branches open, our bankers available, and our customer service center staffed. We live and work in the communities we serve, and we’re here to help if you need assistance with any banking needs.” The immediate response local business owners have made to customer concerns relating to ‘social distancing’ means the heart of the area’s small business economy remains despite immense financial pressure brought on by an uncertain short-term future.
The number of businesses named in this article represent just a fraction of the community of local, independently-owned businesses that are just beginning to weather the economic storm. Though our collective concerns are justifiably directed toward the health and happiness of friends and family, with just a few extra steps, we can show the same support for our favorite business owners – ensuring their future as well. Take a moment and search online and use social media to find your local favorite and take advantage of delivery deals and special discounts to enjoy a family-night in. If you find your budget simply cannot handle the expense of shopping online or taking out, populate social media pages, write a review for your favorite local business, or promote their specials on your own social media page. If we all do just a little to support the sacrifices of small business, when we emerge on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, the businesses and people we know and love will welcome us with OPEN arms once again.