TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WAFF) - Many small businesses are struggling to recover after financial losses during the pandemic. We checked in with a Tuscumbia business owner one year after the pandemic forced her to find other ways to attract customers.
One year ago News Anchor Elizabeth Gentle introduced you to Ashley Morrow - the owner of the Shoppes at Cold Water, a ladies boutique in downtown Tuscumbia.
Like all small businesses, her doors closed to customers shopping inside during the height of the pandemic. She depended on online sales and curbside service... not to mention some creative thinking to stay afloat.
“That time was about connection and so we were able to figure out the right rhythm to be able to connect with our customers,” said Ashley Morrow, The Shoppes at Coldwater, owner.
Morrow says all the online marketing and videos paid off -- big time.
“We really buckled down, worked as a team. We’ve grown so much we’ve actually just bought an 11,000 square foot building to be able to expand the shop. We’ve been able to add new departments like shoes, bathing suits and baby items. We’ve been incredibly fortunate that our customers really dug in with us during a time when people lost customers,” said Morrow.
Morrow was able to take advantage of the paycheck protection program early on. When the second round of funding became available, her business was doing so well she no longer qualified. She owes that, she says, to knowing her customer’s needs.
“I think that’s what allowed us to sort of grow was to be able to see what they were looking for, to see what they needed and wanted and we were able to react to that relatively quickly,” Morrow explained.
Morrow knows other businesses haven’t been as lucky. A lot of them have struggled to stay open, some closing for good. She says despite the hardships of being a small business during a pandemic, she’s come out on the other side of a bad situation.
“When I say we did what we could to grow this business, there was really nothing off-limits to us as far as what it took to get these clothes, these gifts and jewelry in women’s hands.”