Welcome one and all to another Momentum Monday!

We hope you’re washing your hands and not touching your face! In this week’s blog, we talk about how the coronavirus is changing the retail industry in Philadelphia.

Our team took a dive into the murky waters that is the life of a small business owner to see what we could find.

These are trying times amongst small businesses. COVID-19 presents us with a pandemic that we’ve rarely experienced in human history, let alone the past few years. Especially within the business of books. Bookstores across the country are being hit hard.

You may think….”it’s just a bookstore, how can they be in so much financial trouble?” Well, let’s dive into this one.

Most bookstores don’t have ownership of the building, so they have to pay a mortgage. On top of that, they have to pay city tax if they do business in Philadelphia. To boot, they have to pay employees, other business expenses, and credit cards.

If you factor all of that in and then add on that they can’t be open..i.e they can’t make any money, then a harsh reality sets in. Mortgages don’t get paid, credit cards get penalized, it becomes a whole mess.

One of the most famous bookstores in all of Philadelphia, Harrietts Bookshop, got back to us with a statement on how COVID-19 has impacted their business.

“Yes it’s been a pretty wild ride. Like I said we’d only just opened. We had to cancel lots of events and we had to pivot very quickly to creating and online system. We were planning to work with a different artist each month who reimagines the space with us. That can’t happen of course. We were planning to open our children’s library with a member of the Sixers and we had to cancel that as well.” — Jeannine A. Cook.

We appreciate Jeannine’s words and hope that our small business community can help her out too! If you’re ever in need of a good book, go to 258 East Girard Ave in Philadelphia and pick out one from their fine selection of novels.

Another small business that has taken a hard hit since the rise of the coronavirus is the floral industry. Many flower shops have been shut down indefinitely until the virus passes.

When one thinks of flowers, bouquets, floral arrangements, etc. they often think of weddings. Weddings all over the world have been cancelled or postponed until further notice, which greatly affects florists and their businesses. Other major events that take place during the Spring season are high school proms, Easter, graduations, and so forth are just a few of events that have also, unfortunately, been cancelled or postponed. Because there has been a pause on these gatherings, the floral industry has been drastically impacted.

We were able to get in contact with floral artist and event designer, Jennifer Reed, of Jennifer Designs and learn more about her experience so far with the coronavirus and its impact on the floral industry.

Jennifer is based in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, but she creates floral arrangements all over from New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, to Delaware and beyond. Here is what she had to say, “The Coronavirus has impacted my business tremendously. I would never have thought I’d be dealing with an unforeseen obstacle like this in my career. There is no one untouched by this virus, especially in my industry, from the flower farmers, the wholesalers and suppliers, designers and especially my clients. Planning a wedding is already so stressful I can’t imagine a couple having to navigate through all of this. My job through this whole thing has been to help work through it all by finding alternate dates to reschedule, or perhaps reworking the look of their event. Clearly this has its difficulties as well when current clients are needed to reschedule when those dates are already booked so that takes some time and maneuvering. Unfortunately, there is so much up in the air that we all have to be patient and kind as we get through this. It will end but this journey is a tough one but together we will get through it” — Jennifer Reed.

We appreciate Jennifer taking the time to share her experience with us, and wish her the best of luck in the next coming weeks, and possibly even months. This virus has a trickling effect on everyone, and like Jennifer mentioned, we will all get through this together. I encourage you all to check out Jennifer’s beautiful talents on her Instagram and Facebook pages!

Like many other businesses in and around Philadelphia, local retail shops and small boutiques are also taking a hit throughout the pandemic. With physical storefronts having to close, retail owners are now having to shift gears by reamping their online shops and even offering delivery and/or curbside pick-up.

Shannon Elliot, owner of Harvey Oak Mercantile, located in Swarthmore, Philadelphia, has spent years pouring her heart and passion into sourcing unique products for her storefront. Harvey Oak offers a wide range of casual clothing, unique gifts and hand-crafted jewelry and accessories.

Since giving back is also deeply rooted in Shannon’s business practices, Harvey Oak also donated 10% of net profits per year to local organizations within her community.

We reached out to Shannon to hear her thoughts on COVID-19 and see how Harvey Oak was adjusting:

“2020 had so much promise from a business perspective. It was the start of year 3 for me and I finally felt like I could put into action many of the ideas I had been thinking about including increasing the amount of product made locally and sustainably. COVID-19 had different plans for me (and many others).”

“I closed my store on Saturday, March 14th and within a week I was operating a web and personal shopper business. These were down the road growth opportunities that became my only shot at survival. Sales are much lower than they would be if the shop were open, but I am grateful to have some revenue coming in to pay my vendors and keep a small bit of momentum going.” – Shannon Elliot, Owner of Harvey Oak

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If you are interested in supporting Shannon and Harvey Oak, you can shop the online collection here.

Fortunately during this time the government has opened up many different grants that small businesses can take advantage of. Forbes just published a neat article that goes into those grants.

Like we previously mentioned in our last article talking about restaurants and their struggles with COVID-19, here is what Congress is unveiling to businesses around the US:

  • $367 billion small business loan program
  • 500 billion “for industries, cities and states
  • $150 billion “for state and local stimulus funds
  • $130 billion to help hospitals; and an expansion of unemployment insurance

The NFIB created a poll that shows just how much COVID-19 has impacted small businesses around the world.

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There’s a huge, stark change from March 10 to the 20th, right? This virus is no laughing matter. People need to start taking it seriously.

Here’s a quick data sheet that shows all of the current cases of COVID-19. As you can see, China isn’t the epicenter of the virus, the United States is!

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We literally have double the amount of cases that China does. New York is responsible for about 60-70% of the entire cases in our country. For this to end, we have to work together.

The longer all of us stay inside to quarantine will greatly reduce the risk for infection and slowly move ourselves back in the direction of real life again.

So for you spring breakers on the beach, there’s always next summer. No point in contacting the disease or even worse, spreading it to an elderly family member that is more at risk of passing away from the virus. Be smart.

Also, make sure to apply for the small business grants. It can make or break a business, so make sure you take advantage of this!

Always remember, we’re all in this together. Let’s support one another and make it through this. If you’re stuck between grabbing lunch from a chain or a local business. Choose local.

Here at Momentum 360, we want to make growing your business easier than ever. Investing in a virtual tour is without a doubt an imperative step in making that happen. Our society is prioritizing digital content now more than ever, and we likely will not see a decline in this mindset in the future years.

If you are interested in learning more about Momentum 360 Virtual Tours or would like to have one made for your business, feel free to email us or schedule a call with Sean or Mac. For more information, visit our website website! Mac Frederick and Sean Boyle, owners of Momentum, have over twenty years of experience in the digital marketing field and have a passion for helping businesses reach their fullest potential.

We post our Momentum Monday and Small Business Saturday blog every week, so feel free to subscribe and make sure you are up to date on the latest trends in the industry. If you have any questions or concerns, leave them in the comments below! From everyone at Momentum 360, thanks for the love, stay healthy, and until next time, build Momentum!