In recent weeks, businesses all over the county have had to either drastically shift their business models or shut their doors completely. For small businesses the implications of either of these choices are pivotal to the longevity of the business in ways they never could have anticipated.
Yet in Easton, small business owners are demonstrating immeasurable cleverness in adjusting to the uncharted waters of a worldwide pandemic. Janey Paley previously wrote about Easton farms and markets offering plentiful food supplies to keep people from having to travel out of town.
Perhaps the most well-known pivot in town has been Grieser’s Coffee and Market’s switch to mobile ordering and contactless pickup in order to keep the town caffeinated.
Beyond that, owner Adrienne Burke’s addition of fresh produce as well as everyday dry goods and paper products has made the transition to online shopping far more luxurious than just bread, milk, and eggs, all of which Greiser’s also sells from local farms and bakeries.
Other business owners stepping up to fill Eastonite’s stomachs without the anxiety of a traditional grocery store run include Patti Popp, co-owner of Sport Hill Farm, coming out of winter hibernation early to take orders and provide weekly, contactless farm pickups of locally sourced food.
Even from across town lines, Erin and Shawn Reilly, Easton residents and co-owners of the Redding Roadhouse, are now offering take-out grocery service.
Beyond food service, Gary Smith and Kristen McGovern, co-owners of Strong on Center, have switched to online yoga and strength cC.
“We are finding out now that this pandemic is actually helping us do this even more than we ever expected,” Smith said.
Especially in the high-stress day-to-day life of a pandemic, Easton needs outlets like the one offered by Smith and McGovern to stay happy, healthy, and sane; small business owners like him are the ones making sure these needs are still met.
Other needs of the community that can easily be overlooked in such unprecedented times include the necessities of the real estate business. Easton real estate agent Kelly Tymon Higgins is working to fulfill this need through online showings and meetings.
“Some clients do still need to buy and sell for their jobs, or their lease is up, and they need a place to go, etc.,” she said. “So we can’t shut it down totally — nor do we want to — but are using the safest practices by trying to really keep things virtual as much as possible.”
Even the presence of beauty provided by Elissa Capetanakis and her Imaginariums are key in helping the community welcome spring and celebrate its holidays with as much normalcy as possible. These small moments of sparkle are what will help the community retain its spirits until the days of isolation and distancing are gone.
Easton’s other innovators include Jeff Borofsky of Skinny Pines Pizza sanitizing his truck to provide drive thru Pizza at the Pumps and Charlotte Ejderberg Stitcher of Inspiring Results aiding clients virtually to “boost their virtual company culture for their teams that are working from home” as she says.
In yet another clever pivot, The Lice Care Center on Adams Road has turned its efforts toward manufacturing hand sanitizer sprays (bottles available for sale at Greiser’s).
Perhaps especially, though, Easton is strengthened by the business owners who have taken pause of their businesses and have turned their energy toward compassion. For Lori Cochran-Dougall, Easton resident and executive director of the Westport Farmers Market, this means providing free groceries to out-of-work restaurant workers.
For Darcy Stacom, New York City real estate broker crowned “Queen of the Skyscraper” by Wall Street Journal in 1997 for having sold more of those than anyone in the city, this means turning her energy and efforts toward helping nearby hospitals find protective equipment.
The continued services of businesses like these aren’t simply to stimulate the local economy or for the businessowners to continue to stay afloat. Rather, the individuals working tirelessly to spearhead a smooth transition to continued services in these extenuating circumstances have the community’s needs at the forefront of their minds.
They’re anticipating Easton’s needs and proactively pivoting to support the community. Now would Amazon do that? Not only is this pandemic an amazing time to reflect on the state of our environment and policy makers, but also an opportunity to realize the fundamental role small businesses play in the Easton community we adore so much.
As Gary Smith stresses, “When we climb over this obstacle we will only become stronger.”
Do you own an Easton-based business, medical practice, nonprofit or other enterprise that isn’t included in this list? We would like to hear from you! Please send a brief article about your business, how you have adapted to the changing times by doing the “pandemic pivot,” and include a photo, horizontal shape and high resolution. You may submit it through the Easton Courier’s online submission form or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophia Danuszar is a senior at Joel Barlow High School and part-time barista at Greiser’s Coffee and Market.