Some businesses credit local community with ability to keep operating despite COVID-19 outbreak
By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY — Despite the impact on the local economy from COVID-19, some businesses continue to operate, even if somewhat differently, thanks to the support of the community.
The four staff members at the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce began reaching out to the 824 total members of the chamber four weeks ago, with each staff member fielding five calls each day, to check on local businesses. Chamber President Elaine Spalding said the service calls are to ask businesses, essentially, “What’s keeping you awake at night?” and how the Chamber can help.
The calls also serve as an opportunity for the chamber to inform businesses of their financial relief options, especially since the federal “programs are overwhelming for the average business owner,” she said.
Some financial relief includes Small Business Administration disaster loans and the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the U.S. government last month.
Overall, Spalding said the chamber is concerned with some of the small businesses that have closed their doors or may struggle to remain open in the future. But she added that the financial relief funneled from the federal government is helpful for businesses.
“We’re in a good part of the country to recover from this quickly,” Spalding said. She added that she was worried by the number of businesses without the reserves to survive a couple months without income.
The Chamber, the Rowan Economic Development Commission and the Tourism Development Authority have joined forces to provide information and resources to businesses. A comprehensive overview of all resources can be found at visitsalisburync.com under the COVID-19 Information section.
But some businesses have gotten creative with how they operate. For example, Belk has closed its doors at Wallace Commons, 1455 Klumac Road, but it’s serving as an e-commerce fulfillment center, which means online orders from Belk are likely to be fulfilled and shipped from the Salisbury location.
Juice Life, located at 712 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., has been able to sustain its staff thanks to a supportive community.
“We’ve felt the community rally around us and we’ve seen so much kindness,” said owner Ashley Honeycutt, adding that the community has supported Juice Life not only with their business but also with their kind words.
Honeycutt said one reason Juice Life has been able to continue operating is because it offers healthy options, which is especially important during this time. “Tough tonic” has been a popular drink since it’s an immune-boosting mix. Other immunity drinks include “Defender” and “Frontline.”
“It’s not so much that we’re doing great. We’re just keeping a positive attitude,” Honeycutt said. “We’re being positive in a time when a lot of people aren’t being too positive.”
Patterson Farm Market and Tours, located at 10390 Caldwell Road in Mount Ulla, usually hosts field trips for schools during the spring, but now the farm is meeting a need for meat and produce in the community. Customers can order products online at shoppattersonfarm.com and then pick up their orders curbside.
Michelle Patterson said they are helping other local farmers who may have trouble moving products. For example, Patterson Farms has been selling lettuce and asparagus for Seven Sisters Farm of Davidson County. Additionally, the Pattersons have been selling cheese from Luther Ridge Farm.
“We’re all just trying to help each other get through this,” Michelle said.
She added that the farm is preparing for its strawberry season, which will also be part of the online curbside pickup.
Other responses from local companies, according to the chamber, included:
- Zeon, a five-person operation, is operating at about 90% currently.
- Heart of Yoga is offering both paid and free online interactive yoga and mindfulness classes six days a week. Classes can be found on the website at heartofyogasalisbury.com and on Heart of Yoga’s Facebook page.
- Henkel is operating with the plant-required personnel while non-essential employees are working from home.
- Tax Centers of America is conducting business as normal with no more than one client allowed in at a time. People are still filing their taxes as normal even with the July 15 deadline extension.
- Care Transport Group has cut its hours, but is currently utilizing the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Pinnochio’s of Spencer is selling take-out meals and regular customers have been supportive.
- Cannon Pharmacy is conducting only drive-thru and delivery services. The pharmacy is new to the community and has postponed its ribbon cutting ceremony to at least May.
- The Revival Golf Course is open and has been busy since people are still allowed to golf and maintain social distancing requirements. The golf course has seen an increase in business during the week.
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.
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