by Lacy Beasley, March 25, 2020
Every person in the world has been impacted by COVID-19. You’ve been flooded with emails, webinars and creative memes on coronavirus. The issue of the moment is changing daily, if not hourly. Reflect back on your daily routine and plans as little as two weeks ago. Did you plan to attend a concert, sporting event, to go or church? Our short-term shift in attention, time and money will have long-term implications on our Nation’s recovery.
The team at Retail Strategies remains hard at work for our partner communities amidst the conference cancellations, work from home adjustments, and industry disruption. It’s times like these when people far exceed data. The focus for Retail Strategies today is far beyond the lack of toilet paper supply. It’s about small business survival and jobs.
Shopping patterns and jobs have made dramatic shifts. Unemployment claims have skyrocketed. Meanwhile, grocery foot traffic has been up 75%. Companies that are hiring include Walmart (150,000), Amazon (100,000), CVS and Dollar General (50,000 each), as well as Domino’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut (50,000 collectively). Post-pandemic, personal care and fitness are expected to boom.
Small Business Survival
Small business survival is the most immediate concern. According to JP Morgan Chase, small businesses have a median cash buffer of 27 days. With restaurants at 16 days and retail at 19 days. Congress has acted swiftly and relief aid is on the way.
Federal Stimulus Package Summarized
The first relief package of $8.3 billion was signed into law March 6. A bipartisan relief fund bill passed in the Senate on March 25 totaling $2 trillion. There are several components in this stimulus package including $350B for small business loans for which borrowers would be eligible for loan forgiveness, if they meet certain conditions. Retail Strategies is hosting a webinar on March 31 to explain what this package means for municipalities and small business.
Business as (Un)usual
State and local governments across the country are ordering social distancing regulations forcing restaurants, bars, and non-essential retail businesses to close their doors. The pressure has shifted to owners for creative sales. Local businesses can sell online, push gift cards, delivery and take out, social selling, and offer FaceTime personal shopping. Consumer support of these creative sales initiatives over the next several weeks is critical. Follow your local businesses on social media for awareness on how they are responding under the pandemic.
As a community leader and longtime Retail Strategies partner, we applaud Tom Leatherbee , the community service director in Del City, Oklahoma for assembling a “Dining in Place” guide including menu items, take out service and process for ordering. What are you doing to support your local businesses?
Share Your Ideas and Resources
In unprecedented times, we all need to lean on each other for the greater good. Tell us at Retail Strategies what you are doing to navigate COVID-19. Share examples of creative small business sales activity.
We want to assemble and share your best practices. We are all in this together. We will all be changed. We will rise above with communication, shared resourcefulness and proactive solutions.