Local Businesses Adapt in the Age of Coronavirus

The Coronavirus crisis has hurt many businesses, helped others, and challenged everyone

The+Brew+is+one+of+many+local+Tyrone+businesses+that+have+adapted+to+stay+open+during+the+Coronavirus+pandemic+crisis

Lucia Isenberg

The Brew is one of many local Tyrone businesses that have adapted to stay open during the Coronavirus pandemic crisis

The advance of the Coronavirus into central Pennsylvania is having a significant impact on the community’s economy. While local schools and many businesses have remained closed, other essential businesses have been able to creatively adapt to keep their customers happy and their employees safe.

Restaurants and food retailers have been among the busiest of local businesses that are still open.

“We put all chairs on top of the tables and have tape six feet apart to keep people safe while they are picking up their food,” said Bake Shop Bakes owner Andy Hoover.

The Brew Coffee and Taphouse co-owners Shannon Rice and Rob Poust are also practicing social distancing for the safety and health of their customers.

In business, it’s all about making quick sound decisions that seem rash at times, but ensure you’re doing it for all the right reasons”

— Brian McManigal, Macs Market

“We are doing our part with the social distancing by only offering takeout, also offering curbside pickup and minimizing the use of cash. We have encouraged more over the phone orders as well,” said Rice and Poust.

These recommendations to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus are only a few challenges that local businesses are facing. Most businesses weren’t prepared for a pandemic and many thought that they would never have to deal with one.

Owner of Mac’s Market and Gridiron, Brian McManigal Jr. said that the last few weeks have been a challenge, but being able to adapt is one of the most important characteristics of a successful business.

“Just like it did for everyone else, it crept up in a blaze. I think we take good care of our product supply, and won’t stop until we locate the products [we need] to be able to function normally, and we did that,” said McManigal, “But to say that I was sitting at home on Valentine’s Day with a prophecy that all of this would turn out the way it has, it would be a lie. In business, it’s all about making quick sound decisions that seem rash at times, but ensure you’re doing it for all the right reasons.”

Because the paper business is international, the American Eagle Paper Mill had been observing the spread of the Coronavirus in other countries and adapted to make sure they could keep their employees and community healthy.

“We’ve watched the pandemic develop over the past two months in China and Europe. We instituted sanitation, social distancing, travel bans or quarantines, and closed the mill to outsiders very early as this evolved locally. Our employees recognize the need to protect themselves and their families as missing work is not an easy option in an essential 24/7 facility,” said President and CEO of the American Eagle Paper Mill, Philip Devorris.

interior of Macs Market
Todd Cammarata
Macs Market is one of the few businesses that has seen an increase in sales due to the Coronavirus crisis.

For businesses like Bake Shop Bakes and Gardners Candies, the Coronavirus could not have come at a more inconvenient time.

“With this being Easter season, which is our biggest selling season of the year, we will see a decrease in retail store sales,” said President of Gardners Candies, Joe DeStadio.

Likewise, Bake Shop Bakes earnings have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus.

“With the timing of this being our busiest season for fundraising we lost a ton of revenue with schools closing,” said Hoover.

Unlike many businesses in Tyrone, Mac’s Market and Gridiron have been exceeding normal sales revenue.

McManigal’s goal is to keep his customers pleased and safe during the Coronavirus crisis and so far he seems to be doing just that.

“It has created an explosion in business over the course of the past three weeks. We are normally a happening place to start with, but we have been cranking out holiday business, and selling what I can say is record amounts of hamburger for this time of year. Perhaps even more than we do for the 4th of July,” said McManigal.

Farmers Insurance agent Billie Jo Friday acknowledges that the virus is impacting many of her customers, especially those that were already struggling financially. She understands that people need assistance and she wants to do what she can to help her customers in this time of crisis.

“We are making more phone calls and contacting some that we have worked with in the past to see if anything has changed since the last time we have quoted them since everyone will need to be saving as much money as they can due to these challenging times,” said Friday.

Businesses have had to become creative with sales to keep their business from sinking. Internet sales and discounts have been helping prevent social interactions while also being productive with sales.

“We are offering a 20% discount on all internet sales along with free shipping,” said President of Gardners Candies, Joe DeStadio.

The Brew Coffee and Taphouse have become innovative with their sales so that customers can still enjoy their food and drink while staying safe.

“We have been offering care packages of products and home delivery,” said Rice.

We are extremely grateful and appreciative of all of our customers who support us and continue to order their favorite Brew items during these times. Many who are currently not working still choose to spend their savings with us. That means a lot.”

— Shannon Rice, The Brew

Bake Shop Bakes has brought in new and clever ideas to keep their sales moving during these harsh times.

“We had to get super creative, large giveaways, creative new sandwiches, just thinking outside the box,” said Hoover.

With some businesses being fairly new in Tyrone a situation like the Coronavirus could rapidly bring down their business.

New business owners, Shannon Rice and Rob Poust, of The Brew Coffee and Taphouse are especially thankful for Tyrone’s community during these hard times for helping keep their business on its feet.

“We are extremely grateful and appreciative of all of our customers who support us and continue to order their favorite Brew items during these times. Many who are currently not working still choose to spend their savings with us. That means a lot. Also, we could not do any of this without our amazing Crew. Our staff has stepped up tremendously and taken more responsibilities everyday. Words cannot describe our appreciation and gratitude we have for everyone in Tyrone,” said Rice and Poust in an email.