Member Impact Interview Series
As we begin to Reopen and Rebuild, we will be communicating with our members to find out how they've been impacted and how they plan to reopen. We hope other members can relate and share their experiences with us! Let's do this together.
The North Shore Realty Group, Member since 2016
November 10, 2020
How has your business been impacted by COVID-19?
We were deemed essential from day one and rightfully so. So many have had their living situations change with the onset of homeschooling, working from home as well as doing whatever is necessary to take care of senior family members and moving from the city environment. The demand for properties has been very strong. The fortunate part is we have been able to satisfy all of our clients.
What have you learned about your business while being in the midst of a pandemic?
Everyone of my agents are amazing people, giving of themselves and helping each other. We adapted quickly to Covid and continue to conduct business in a safe and productive manner
How have your clients reacted to the changes put in place due to COVID-19?
Our clients have been understanding, cooperative and gone out of their way to work with others during the home Buying and Selling process.
Bucciarelli’s Butchershop & Deli, Member since 2014
October 8, 2020
How has the COVID pandemic impacted the way you do business?
The state regulation and health department requirements on retail stores during COVID has definitely affected the way we do business here at Bucciarelli's. We've had to remove some of our shelves to make room for social distancing as well as change the way customers order food and sandwiches. There are definitely longer wait times for service as well as limits on certain products. For example, customers are now asked to wait outside for their sandwiches to be prepared to limit the number of customers in the store. We have tried to make the new routine less stressful for everyone and have posted signs all over the store for guidance.
What has been the #1 lesson that you’ve learned about your business over the course of the past 6 months?
That our customers are loyal and for the most part, are very patient and understanding of the changes we've had to make to keep everyone safe. And our staff is also loyal and extremely caring about Bucciarelli's and we consider them brave, supportive and happy to be here to serve our customers and community despite the risks. We have also learned that we can adapt to any situation quickly such as the day we decided to close the doors and offer curbside only to protect our staff and customers. Curbside went extremely well and we quickly worked out any kinks to make it a service that customers are still longing for.
Post COVID – will you continue to keep any guidelines in place? Please explain.
We have found that the way we order sandwiches is definitely quicker and more efficient so some of the internal procedures will be kept in place. We are going to continue to listen to the advice of the medical professionals before changing any social distancing and mask wearing requirements. Many customers loved our curbside service during the shut down, so we are considering offering curbside during the winter months when the flu season hits.
Wash N Wags, Member Since 2016
September 9, 2020
How has your business changed from the beginning of COVID to now?
Wash N' Wags has adjusted well to the Covid 19 pandemic. Our animals are also experiencing negative effects of the pandemic. Matted fur, skin issues, nails trims that had to be postponed. We are trying to get all our furry customers back on an even schedule and we have accomplished that. We have also taken in many new customers that need our services. Many long days but worth it!
What have you learned about your clients during this time?
We love our clients. We have learned that we are ALL going through a difficult time. We have experienced a huge uptick in anxious/nervous dogs. These are pets that we are used to working with regularly. They have become stressed and anxious because they feel their owner's stress. They just don't understand where the threat is coming from. They don't understand. Something we have been working on daily with their owners. They should be aware that their anxiety from the pandemic is being felt by their pets. We are all in this together including our pets!
Can you share anything positive that has come out of COVID – as it relates to your business?
We have become better at what we do. Working with our clients and their pets during very stressful times. Keeping our energy calm and positive as we work with our clients and their pets. The grooming and self wash services are essential to a clean and well maintained pet. Nail trims, teeth and ear cleaning all need to be performed on a regular basis. The stress we see with our furry friends need to be handled in a calm professional manner. That's what we are good at.
Wash N' Wags. Self Service Dog Washing. We provide everything you need to wash and dry your pup. The best part is WE clean up the mess! We also offer Full Professional grooming by appointment. Our groomers are well known in the area for their patience and the quality of their cuts. We also offer puppy grooming training to start them young. Very important to set positive grooming habits at a young age. Come on by and see why dogs and their owners love us!
Salisbury Discount House, Member Since 2012
August 6, 2020
How has COVID-19 effected your business?
For Salisbury Discount House as for so many businesses, the waiting and not knowing in April and May whether we could even open was challenging. Once we got the go ahead from the Governor in June it was time to play catch up and schedule all of the deliveries we had postponed. Then we ordered lots of sanitizer, masks, gloves, etc. and put up the plexiglass shields that are so important.
Because June and July’s weather was beach friendly, we were happy to see many of our summer customers coming back. And many told us how glad they were to be at the beach. It appears that many consider the beach a safe place to bring the children where they can run and play after the months of being inside. We are not seeing the number of “tourists “from other states and will miss our Canadian friends this month.
Do you have a recovery plan in place and if so - please explain?
From the moment we opened, we have tried to be as safe as possible to protect ourselves and the public. “No Mask-No Entry- No Exceptions”. Is the rule. We are vigilant and it can be exhausting but it is necessary.
Do you have a positive story/message that has come out of COVID-19 as it relates to your business?
Most customers have been wonderful and genuinely wish us to Stay Safe as they leave. It is an unusual and challenging summer and we have been truly impressed by the number of people who have adapted so well!!!
The Winner's Circle, Member Since 2012
June 30, 2020
How has COVID-19 effected your business?
COVID-19 has taken a huge bite out of our business. We started the first 2.5 months of 2020 up almost 16% over last year, and then in one day, it came to a halt. We are a part of an industry that was lucky, in the sense, that we could stay open, with restrictions. That restriction was that we could serve “take out” only. That would have been great, if we were a “take out” business, but we are more than that. Our customer base enjoys our food, but they also enjoy the whole atmosphere of The Winner’s Circle. Which includes, our pool and game rooms, playing the lottery, especially Keno, and most of all, watching sports on the big screens, and while doing that, they are eating up some great food and having drinks.
Plus we have a private function room that had reservations for almost every weekend in March and April, so only being able to serve “take out” was a crushing drop in our daily business. During normal operating times, our “take out” business was miniscule so we wondered, will they order “take out” when they can’t enjoy the other areas? Though we have a great, loyal customer base, our “take out” business wasn’t enough to make up for losing all the revenue from the other areas of business.
Now that Massachusetts has started the process of re-opening, what changes have you seen in your business?
The Winner’s Circle historically operated as though you were at a ballpark. Customer’s ordered their food at the “concession stand” and got a number. When the food was ready the number was paged and the customer came and picked it up. It was our unique way of operating, which kept costs down for the customer and us. Good food at low prices. Now we have had to implement a wait staff which requires many more employees to operate, increasing the cost of the entire operation. Getting more employees has not been easy as the government, although it claims it wants people to go back to work, has inadvertently provided the incentive for people to make more money NOT to work between unemployment benefits and the $600 per week stimulus money.
What have you learned about your business over the past few months?
With virtually no income for 3 months, what costs can be eliminated or reduced. Having been in business for almost 50 years, we are fortunate in not having a mortgage and own the property. I don’t know how restaurants that pay rent or have a mortgage can survive this until a vaccine is available. Even with the paycheck protection program which was very helpful, it only covered 8 weeks worth of some bills, Because we are a “sports bar” restaurant, our business will never be the same until we can open the “bar” aspect of the business and there are sports to watch. We also have a function room that was always mostly booked on weekends, adding to our overall income. We are looking a months away before that happens, if it does. Can we survive for that length of time without all of our business aspects operating? Time will tell.
Tom’s Discount, Member Since 2012
May 29, 2020
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
The impact on our business has been significant. Financially, everything started to crumble right after we had received our Easter/Spring/summer goods. This is our second highest accounts payable season, behind Christmas. We were not able to sell the Easter goods and we missed the selling window on many other items as well. We did some curbside pickup business but it was only about 10% of our typical sales for that period. Thankfully we have a loyal customer base and they are coming back after our two month closure.
How have you been able to remain open and what challenges have you faced?
We closed on March 23. With the news reports and so much uncertainty about the rate of contagion we felt we should close while cases were on the uptick. We did some business using Facebook Messenger as an instant chat from home for two weeks and then we brought staff into the building and added phone ordering. We were basically personal shoppers and with Facebook Messenger we could send photos of items to customers. It was a lot of work for roughly 10% of usual sales. When we opened our doors on May 19 we were happy to see our customer counts rebound almost immediately.
What have you learned over the past couple of months regarding your business?
Over the past few months, we learned that our business is just as impulse motivated as we thought. When people were able to order only what they wanted our sales suffered miserably. When we were able to bring back only a small staff to reopen, we realized that we were overstaffed before we closed. We had more layers of staff than we need to run efficiently, and I think other business owners may come to this realization too. If so, it will make it more difficult for people to get back to work.
How have you been communicating with your customers?
We have been communicating with our customers via social media using Facebook and Instagram. We believe people have been in front of their screens much more than usual, out of boredom. We want to be in front of them.
Are you finding new methods to stay profitable?
As far as new methods to stay profitable, we have made no changes except realizing that we do not need the staffing levels we were carrying so that will translate to better profitability.
What steps have you taken to best position your business for re-opening?
We are now open and found that offering customers a way to do some business with us and stay connected was key in a successful reopening.
What steps have you taken to ensure the safety of your employees?
During the weeks that we were closed we watched the big retailers carefully. We made note of the issues they had and the changes they instituted as the situation evolved. We also researched on our own and we were able to educate the employees we brought back before we opened our doors to the public. We built barriers between staff and customers, instituted cleaning and sanitation procedures and made other changes to create a safer environment for employees and staff.