Local businesses adapt to a new normal

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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By Jay Brenchick, Teresa Beale, Dan Howe


We have surpassed the one-month benchmark of the COVID-19 shutdown. While small businesses have been significantly affected, our local business owners and overall community has displayed an unbelievable amount of resiliency and adaptability during this unprecedented season. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be highlighting different local business sectors, showcasing the ways in which organizations have adjusted and edited their business plans in order to provide services to the local community. First up, we’ll share a few examples of how our retail businesses are currently operating.

The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone wear a non-medical personal protective mask when out in public. Both Lavender and Lace and Mackans have begun selling versions of these suggested face coverings. Lavender and Lace is selling multiple patterns from a store-favorite brand, while Mackans is selling small hand sanitizer bottles in addition to the personal protection masks. Franklin’s Crafters Gallery is truly putting its personal skills to good use: The business is sewing masks in-house and giving a considerable amount away to front-line healthcare workers. Check out each business Facebook page for more information.

With the governor’s directive of less than 10 people congregating at a time while maintaining six feet of social distancing, our retail stores not only comply with the order, but adapt in order to meet the real-time needs of their customers. The Cat’s Meow, one of Downtown Franklin’s longest tenured retail shops, chose to create an e-commerce platform in order to provide a viable shopping option. New products are added on a consistent basis, with curb-side service provided for order pickups. Check out thecatsmeowva.com to begin your online shopping. The Peanut Patch has modified their retail operations to comply with shutdown restrictions as well. The team is offering curb-side delivery of both peanut and retail products, as well as the ability for one person to shop in the store at a time. Call ahead to make any shopping arrangements.

If you know of any local businesses that are either meeting a unique service or adapting their business model to remain open, give the Franklin Southampton Economic Development office a call at 562-1958. We are stronger together, Franklin Southampton, and our local businesses are proving this mantra each and every day.

JAY BRENCHICK is president and CEO of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. Contact him at 579-9684.

TERESA BEALE is the executive director of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at 562-4900.

DAN HOWE is the executive director of the Downtown Franklin Association. Contact him at 562-6900.