As a local small business owner who has had the doors open for just over one year, we were on cloud nine. We had spent the last 12 months continuing to be creative in what we offered in order to serve local women. It was our ‘safe space’, a place where women gathered – for workouts, community, shopping, and to catch up with friends. We are so lucky to live in a town where the community truly supports small businesses through ups and downs. But I think I can speak for everyone in saying – this is just uncharted territory.
Closing Up Shop
As we all know, life as we knew it came to a (screeching) halt that felt like a freight train that we were trying to keep on the tracks as it wildly rolled into a destination where no one wanted to end up.
Some businesses decided to permanently close within 2 weeks of our new ‘norm’, others are doing whatever they can to keep their doors open so they can pick up the pieces once we are all allowed to start living our lives again – though that may look a lot different for the next several months, maybe even longer. From ‘beer to go’, curbside take out from our favorite restaurants, telehealth for sick visits, just to name a few, it has been fascinating to see how businesses are maneuvering through this challenging time.
Thinking back to the timeline of how we got to where we are with our current operating state, it’s pretty wild how quickly things started happening with coronavirus. From talking about it at a bbq one Saturday night to taking more cleaning precautions to wondering if we should shift our business model and offer an online option for those who wanted to stay home (this was 2 weeks before gyms were mandated to close in the state of Florida).
As fitness professionals and lovers of all things health and wellness, we know how to adapt to most situations and that although our service is not deemed ‘essential’ as far as keeping the doors open, it is essential to maintaining your health. We consider ourselves very lucky that we are able to continue serving our clients on a virtual platform. Not all businesses have this option or luxury, although I did see one hairdresser who got super creative and was offering ‘at-home color kits’, formulated for each of her clients – brilliant!
Uncertainty brings a feeling of uneasiness, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, and feeling alone while we keep our distance. Focusing on how we can continue to provide the same class schedule and offerings to not only our current clientele but also those who do not live locally, free monthly meetups, and being there to support one another has been our driving force and what has kept our spirits up.
In times of uncertainty, it can be challenging to stick to your routine (not sure about you but my entire family is completely off schedule!). It is extremely important for us to keep some kind of ‘normal’ in our clients’ days as well as ours. Exercise truly does lift your spirits, releases endorphins and increases energy, and in this time of not knowing what the next day will bring or when this will all be over, it has kept us all a bit saner.
A few government programs have rolled out in the last several weeks to assist businesses. At first a sense of relief, then frustration as we continue to wait for information on the status of our applications. Keeping up with the latest on whichever loan or program you applied for feels like a second job. At this point, it is looking like funds may have been depleted which is extremely disheartening as so many struggle to stay afloat.
Although our work schedule has stayed the same, all of us at the studio have a bit more time on our hands, allowing us to work on some ideas we’ve been thinking about for quite some time.
Finding the silver lining in situations is harder some days, but when I look at how we continue to support not just our members but other small businesses, too, I know that our situation could be a lot worse.
As we all continue to navigate these waters together, have patience and grace with your family, employees & businesses who are trying to do their best, and yourself. If you’re feeling down, take a walk, or get some fresh air in your yard –take deep breaths. If tackling a new project or idea makes you feel anxious, allow yourself to rest if you’re feeling completely run down.
We all react to situations differently, and that it is ok. Some people react by going into overdrive and tackling new projects while others feel like they need to rest and be alone. Support your friends, family, and coworkers in however they are feeling at that moment. I find peace in knowing that In a community like ours, we will prosper again.