Nashville-based small businesses prepare for uncertain futures


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee’s economic reboot is about to begin, as open signs return to businesses across the state.

On Monday, Governor Bill Lee announced his Stay-At-Home order will expire on April 30. Lee said most businesses in 89 counties can plan to reopen by May 1 and his administration will continue to work with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan to plan re-open strategies.

The same day as Lee’s announcement, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said he plans to extend local orders, citing the weekend’s spike in cases.

Small business owners tell News 2 that they’re preparing for their brick-and-mortar spaces to stay closed, and online sales to stay their main source of revenue.

“I’m just one of a bunch of different people who have the same story, so I’m not special,” said Trisha Brantley, owner of Hip Zipper Vintage Clothing in East Nashville.

Her store’s clothes are curated pieces ranging from the 1950s to the 1990s.

“I’m just looking for things that you know might catch people’s eyes,” said Brantley.

In sharp contrast, her current reality is something she’d never choose.

Brantley said she’s had to furlough her four part-time employees, “We’re not open, so you know, we don’t have regular hours so I don’t have regular part-time employees.”

The Hip Zipper hasn’t been open for business since March 3 when the deadly tornado outbreak hit Middle Tennessee, then the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Brantley added, “We were served a tornado punch and a coronavirus chaser.”

After Stay-At-Home orders went into effect to stop the spread of COVID-19, Brantley had to transition to online sales saying, “It’s like having to start a whole new business from scratch.”

She continued, “It’s very time consuming to take the photos, do the measurements, get them online and then when they sale you’ve got to put things in the mail—and when things are listed you’ve got to answer a lot of questions.”

She’s also trying to apply for financial relief and prepare a social distancing plan for her store.

“I want to follow as many protocols as I can to ensure some peace of mind with people,” she said.

In the midst of uncertainty, Brantley is encouraging people to shop her online collection, “Stuff my friends affectionately refer to as my ‘holy wow collection,’ it’s stuff I’ve never put in my store before.”

Hip Zipper Vintage Clothing can be found on Instagram, Facebook and here at their online store.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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