With full stomachs after reading last week’s “Eat Local” blog, we are now pivoting the spotlight to another favorite: our local shops. As small shops closed in mid-March due to the pandemic, business owners didn’t skip a beat in thinking of progressive and alternative ways to keep in touch with their customers. From love boxes to deals-of-the-day, there are plenty of ways to get that retail therapy fix.
At the start of the closures, the owners of local shop MADE began what they coined a “Quarantine Box” – simply put, it’s a box with goodies. Order one up for yourself or send one to someone you love as a surprise. You choose a price point and then it’s up to the staff’s discretion to fill your box, so it’s always a surprise. You can get anything from sweet treats, candles, lotions, playing cards, puzzle, stationary & more. Want to order a quarantine box for you or a loved one? Check it out here.
The easiest way to help your local stores is to shop online from the comfort of your own home. Whether you need a new kayak from Rendezvous River Sports, some yarn for your knitting habit from Knit on Pearl, a new summer outfit from Nest or a few new books from Valley Bookstore, the stores are ready for online delivery and/or pickup. And new this week the Chamber of Commerce launched 22 Local, a new site with discounted gift certificate bonds to support many local businesses.
You heard from restaurateur Gavin Fine last week. This week’s Q&A features John Frechette and Christian Burch, owners of MADE, Mountain Dandy, M and Mursell’s Sweet Shop.
Q: Your store fronts have been closed for over a month. How are you feeling at this point in the game?
We feel lucky to be in a town that supports small businesses so much. It has definitely been a squeeze, but almost every transaction we’ve had since we closed has been more one on one and special. We’ve gotten so many notes of encouragement and excitement for future shopping that it has reinvigorated us as business owners.
Q: You guys have been early adopters on Etsy and for online sales of your curated American made products. What are people buying right now?
Right now we see many customers looking for gifts and pick me ups. We always sell a lot of Birthday gifts in the store, and birthdays still happen during quarantine…we are writing a lot of hand written notes for folks. We are seeing a lot of stationary and greeting card orders, puzzles sold out immediately (and just arrived back in stock) and playing cards are on everyone’s list! We’ve also started selling Sweets and Treats online through the Quarantine Boxes and treats from our store, Mursell’s Sweet Shop are bringing lots of smiles and laughs.
Q: How can we as a community support local retailers?
Jackson is always supportive of our small businesses, and now is no different. Folks are buying things they need, but also inventing ways to support our businesses. We are shipping to all corners of the country, instagram posts spreading the word are a huge help, and we’ve even had a couple employees tell their employers about us for corporate gifting and employee thank you’s.
Q: The silver lining in this down time is space for creativity in our lives. What’s inspiring you and what projects are you excited to tackle?
Since we started MADE (10 years ago this May 10th) we’ve been figuring things out as we go. Our team has grown, our store fronts have grown, and we’ve always been reinventing and creating. This hasn’t been any different. We’ve pivoted to be more online, we are getting creative in how we deal with customers, how we use our staff. We are not afraid to hustle, and that is what we will keep doing. Our motto has been… We Are Small, but Mighty!
Stay tuned for more ways to help out the local economy in the next Local blog series.