When coronavirus hit, these small businesses got creative, but they still need help
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted by: Laura Hollis
With more than 38 million people unemployed and businesses shut down in nearly every state, COVID-19 has taken a crippling toll on America's economic health.
For many small businesses, which comprise 47% of private-sector payrolls in the U.S., according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, the sudden economic downturn has created a full-blown crisis.
The big-picture concern shared by economists is if businesses don't survive, many Americans won't have jobs to return to after the pandemic. That's why experts have said it's important to support local businesses, which are struggling to generate reliable income.
Now, salons, restaurants, florists, fitness instructors and more are creatively adjusting to the new realities of the coronavirus economy, pivoting to bring parts of their business online, connecting with communities directly on social media or launching creative side hustles.
"GMA" put out a call to small businesses and service workers to see how they've responded to the economic downturn, and we'll share their stories here, along with ways Americans can support small businesses.
Check back each week to meet more small business owners.
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Anemone V. Mahadeo of Fun Time Pottery, Inc.
Business: Paint-your-own pottery studio
Anemone V. Mahadeo has a background in finance and held a mortgage broker license until 2009 when the housing market crashed. She alternatively pivoted into the arts and crafts industry, as she enjoyed meeting people and thought it would be fun to create art and help others at the same time. Shortly after, her paint-your-own pottery studio, Fun Time Pottery, Inc. was born.
Unfortunately, Mahadeo’s studio has been impacted by New York-ordered shutdowns on nonessential businesses due to COVID-19. Much of Fun Time Pottery, Inc.’s success depends on walk-in customers as well as events such as birthday parties, fundraisers, private paint nights and more.
"Since the shutdown, we were only able to offer take-home projects, which are far and few," Mahadeo told "GMA." "Our customers enjoy sitting in the studio and working on their projects since they have access to all materials in addition to the ambiance."
While the physical location remains closed, Mahadeo has built Fun Time Pottery, Inc.’s website in a way where arts, crafts and pottery supplies can now be ordered online. She also began putting together packages for virtual parties and classes.
However, Mahadeo does admit it has been a challenge to convince customers to purchase items online. Additionally, packing all of the items to ship on her own can be a tedious process.
Monthly bills are still due for the pottery studio and Mahadeo has continued to look for new ways to generate enough income to cover them.
How can America support your business: "It would mean a great deal to support by purchasing and ordering DIY craft kits or custom-made pieces on Fun Time Pottery, Inc.’s website," Mahadeo says.