EAST NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After being hit first with a tornado in Five Points, then coronavirus forcing businesses to close once again, some are struggling to stay open.
“It’s been entirely overwhelming. Just something I’ve never had to deal with as a small business owner,” Owner of Goodbuy Girls Boutique Tanya Coe said.
Coe says she’s only been open for a day since the tornado hit near her business on March 3. And it’s still unclear when she could expect to reopen.
“Like a lot of businesses, we experienced severe loss of income,” Coe said.
Goodbuy Girls luckily has a steady following on social media, which was initially helpful for Coe to offer discount codes and attractive offers for customers.
“Immediately what made sense to me was 20-percent off and free shipping over $100,” Coe said.
But just down the street, Lockeland Table is having to launch similar initiatives. The restaurant is now offering a limited, carry-out only menu, but also preheated meals for families to take home.
“Creativity is always something we enjoy in the kitchen. We’re definitely being creative with the inventory we have on hand,” Executive Chef Hal Holden-Bache said.
Holden-Bache says the tornado was especially difficult for his staff. After losing an employee at the restaurant on top of losing power for more than a week.
“A lot of difficult decisions to come up with, there’s not a book on this or a course on this in college,” Holden-Bache said.
But he’s hoping that people continue to support small businesses like he’s seen before.
“A little bit of income every day can help us help our staff during this time,” Holden-Bache said.
Both business owners tell News 2 social media has been a crucial part to communicating with customers, and launching new ways to attract business during this difficult time.
“Everyone is scared about their finances, and they’re not thinking about anything but the essentials. So it’s trying to navigate those waters. When you’re a shop that relies on sales, obviously, for your livelihood,” Coe said.
While it’s still unclear how long businesses will be closed for, small business owners say it’s going to be a devastating time until the U.S. is cleared of this pandemic.