Proactive Beats Reactive for Local Businesses in the Age of Social Distancing

Like you, I have been inundated with emails from all sorts of global and national brands. These are nice to see. Though I, like you, can’t remember doing business with many of the companies sending me emails.

I am far more interested in seeing how local merchants are addressing coronavirus (CORVID-19). Last week, I wrote this post calling out the local yoga studio, Marin Power Yoga, for its incredibly genuine marketing message.

Today I received the email below from a local purveyor of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I hadn’t thought about a pickup service for this type of merchant, but it struck me that in essence, they’re a gift shop. And that means they’re a shop at pretty high risk these days since we’ll all be spending less time out and about and we’re likely to pare back our spending. In the case of this store, they’re taking a proactive approach to dealing with the fears and concerns on many minds.

As you can read in the email, they’re launching curbside pick up. They make it very clear that they’ll do their best to pass you their product through the car window. They go on to call out what they’re doing in their stores – they have 3 stores in the Bay Area. I am sure the owners are feeling some serious stress, but to their credit they’re not waiting around and instead, taking the bull by the horns.

Below is the text of yet another email – this from a terrific pizza restaurant in San Anselmo, CA. Again, the owner is being proactive and addressing the concerns of their loyal patrons. You will note that she calls out the adding of space between tables – or table distancing. The owner, who trained for months in Italy to hone her craft has been a key cog in the local restaurant and community scene. She, like thousands of other business owners, are taking the proactive step to address the rightful concerns on people’s minds. You will also note that they, like the olive oil and vinegar store above are offering curbside delivery.

Email from Pizzalina, San Anselmo, California

First and foremost, let me say that Pizzalina is open and has always been committed to the health and safety of our employees and guests! Now even more with the outbreak of COVID 19, we want to assure you that beyond our normal, strict standards of hygiene, we are upping our daily preventative measures to continue to ensure the safety of our employees and guests. At this time, all of our employees are thankfully healthy and are following our strict procedures and policies with extra hand washing, gloves, sanitation stations, increased cleaning procedures and staying at home, with sick pay if they are not feeling well.

  • We want to assure you that in addition to our already strict adherence to cleanliness and sanitation, we have instituted these additional measures:
  • We have made more space available between our tables and chairs.
  • All tables, chairs, booths & menus are thoroughly sanitized after each use.
  • We will deliver curbside! Request when you call, pay by phone & call us when you arrive, we’ll run it to your car window.
  • All condiments will be by request only, and sanitized after each use.
  • We have disinfecting wipes available throughout the dining room for your use.
  • Crayons will be given by request
  • Every evening our professional cleaning crew will complete an extensive disinfectant cleaning.
  • We are committed to upholding the highest of standards in food, service, and safety to our guests and employees, especially during a time of need.
  • We hope that you, our valued guest, know how much we appreciate your patronage and loyalty. We look forward to providing you with the best, and safest hospitality possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me personally, or one of our wonderful managers on duty.

With Love + Gratitude,
Louise Franz, and The Pizzalina Team

Getting Ahead of the Curve

Finally, there’s this announcement from a favorite bar in Washington D.C. that we visit when we’re there seeing our kids. The bar is taking the very difficult step of closing its doors for the foreseeable future. I found what they posted on their website very much in alignment with the key pillars of – Immediacy, Transparency, Authenticity.

Unlike millions of bars throughout the country, they were ahead of the curve in shutting down. This week, a growing list of states and municipalities are imposing a broad-based shut down of bars and dine-in restaurants, along with gyms, movie theaters, and other “non-essential” businesses.

All Souls acknowledged the challenge they faced in making the decision to close. The bar also addressed how they intended to do the best they can to take care of their employees during these difficult times.

Separately, as I write this the Federal Reserve has lowered the interest rates to zero. What I wonder is how quickly small businesses will see this rate reduction show up on their credit card or loan statements? Or will America’s small businesses ever even see a drop in their interest charges. What do you think?

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