JASPER, GA–Small businesses voice unity during the “new normal” spawned by the Coronavirus storm. While it’s still too early to truly gauge the economic impact the “social distancing” and self-quarantining will have, business owners are doing what they can, said Amberle Godfrey , Pickens County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.
Sharp Top Social Media is partnering with The Old Mulehouse to #supportjasper by encouraging patrons who go out to eat to first, tip their server more than usual, then to purchase a gift card to that establishment. The next time they dine out, they leave that server a tip and the previously purchased gift card while also purchasing a gift card from that establishment.
They are seeing success. Many small businesses are reposting and encouraging everyone to get involved.
“We’re really coming together in an amazing way,” said Darby.
She said the idea was based on a post by Jeff Dollars, who encouraged his
followers to tip extra and buy a gift card to pass to the next server the patron has.
Still, the Coronavirus is only part of the concern. With the rainy weather that has dominated North Georgia, small businesses were already concerned.
“This (Coronavirus) compounded it and with this on top of it, it will cripple some businesses,” said Godfrey.
“They are all staying open and we’re all asking people to still continue to support the small businesses,” she added.
Rob Jarrett, general manager for the restaurant 61 Main, said so far the popular eatery has been “fine.”
“It was pretty normal until Saturday, then we were about 50-percent of where we normally are,” he said on Monday, adding Monday was also operating at about 50-percent.
“We’re taking it day-by-day,” he said.
The restaurant is offering the entire menu to go and while they haven’t laid anyone off or changed their hours, anything can happen.
But for now, they are going to continue offering farm-to-table meals.
“We’re trying to make the best of it,” he said.
“I hope it doesn’t last,” said Carrie Roland, owner of Designs on Main, a boutique in downtown Jasper offering items for home, gifts and children.
“Last week wasn’t much different,” said Roland. “The rain and weather affects our business, too, but Saturday wasn’t much different.”
Things seemed to change on Monday, though.
“The traffic has died tremendously today,” she said.
To help make customers feel comfortable, she said she is offering online shopping with curbside pick-up.
She also pointed out that small shops typically means less human traffic. “It’s not crowded if you shop small.”
She said the decision to stay open or close was difficult. Both had consequences. For now, she’s not making any changes to her hours.
“I’m just seeing how things are before doing something drastic.” She said she is using the time to get caught up on inventory.
“Everyone, not just businesses, are concerned this is just the beginning. This is unchartered waters for everyone,” said Godfrey.
For an updated list of Pickens County closings, check us out here.