Non-essential businesses get creative amid 2-week closure

Updated: Mar. 27, 2020 at 10:00 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that all non-essential businesses must close at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28 until at least Friday, April 17. People who work/own businesses that fall into that category are getting creative to continue reaching customers.

“I knew this was coming and had already thought about next steps," said Jeidi Pippins. She owns sweat local, a south Huntsville gym.

In preparation, she already limited class sizes to nine people and started some online classes for members.

“This is peak season for gyms. Spring is a big deal," explained Pippins. "Cecil Ashburn was closed last year, so we didn’t really get to grow last year.”

Her focus this year was on growing, but now that’s on hold.

Next door to her studio is Leah McCain’s boutique, Valley Chic.

“I think that we’ve all had to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and think outside of the box with how to still reach our customers even when they can’t come in," said McCain.

Her boutique hosts online “fashion shows," if you will, to showcase new items into the store. You can make purchases online with free shipping.

Francisco Lazo owns The Fade Factory. He, too, was expecting state leaders to make this move. However, he was hoping for more time to alert clients.

Despite a decline in business at his two locations by 80% in the past two weeks, Friday’s announcement from the Governor kept him busy with last minute appointments.

“One of our biggest concerns was can we file for unemployment. Most barbers are 1099 contractors. So, knowing that there is a possibility we can file for unemployment as well helps them out," stated Lazo.

Being closed for the next two weeks is requiring all three business owners to get creative. All of them are relying heavily on social media to continue pushing their brand.

“I think a lot of people have more free time, right now, so they’re continuously scrolling online," stated McCain.

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