Small Businesses Pivot their Strategies during the Pandemic

by CoVaBizMag

By Melissa M. Stewart

For many Coastal Virginia small businesses, failure is not an option. Instead of forfeiting profits and holding out for the “new normal,” they have decided to pivot their current models and find creative ways to ensure they survive COVID-19.

Restaurants have been whipping up curbside dining galore, and customers can find endless options for virtual classes, doctor consultations and more as companies have shifted to online-only options for consumers. The following three small businesses, however, really stood out to us for their resourceful adaptations. Besides continuing to make money, their smart solutions also help the healthcare community.

From Bourbon to Hand Sanitizer

When the realities of COVID-19 hit hard, popular spirits Newport News-based producer Ironclad Distillery was forced to close its tasting room to the public and stop making bourbon in the distillery. But Co-owner and Creative Director Kara King says the Ironclad team saw an immediate need for alternative alcohol needs and pivoted production to distill ethanol for use in manufacturing hand sanitizer. The product comes in 2-ounce spray bottles packaged by a business partner who owns True North Apothecary in Chesapeake.

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From Runners to First Responders

When you are in the business of bringing people together—25,000 to be exact for their largest race—what do you do when the entire country is forced to stay far apart? J&A Racing Race Director Jerry Frostick canceled his company’s popular in-person running events and got creative.

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From Souvenirs to Face Shields

Bicast Laser CEO Stephanie Harris never could have predicted that in mid-March 2020, 100 percent of her customers would suddenly close indefinitely. With shelter-in-place mandates and bans on large gatherings of any kind, entertainment venues like theme parks, aquariums, zoos and museums no longer needed them to manufacture custom, laser-cut souvenirs like wooden magnets, ornaments and key chains.

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