With the ever changing situation that is COVID-19 small businesses are having to get creative about how they’re going to keep serving customers and stay in business during this uncertain time.
On March 17 Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered the closure of many businesses and recreational facilities. This of course impacted Tony Wynohrad, one of the owners of Limestone Brewery.
Before the shutdown Wynohrad says the brewery stopped serving pizza and just made sure their taproom was clean by offering hand sanitizer and wiping down counters after every customer. Since their operating hours are only Thursday-Saturday 2 p.m. - 10 p.m. they hadn’t seen any effects from the coronavirus as of yet.
But then Tuesday came around, and plans had to be changed. According to their Facebook Limestone is now offering beer delivery Thursday-Saturday from 5p.m.-9p.m.. Their delivery menu will be available on their website and Facebook page.
Hair salons are also feeling the effects of COVID-19. Modern Glam Salon closed its doors on Wednesday. According to store co-owner Maggie Huemann the Iowa Board of Cosmetology has not said salons are required to shut down, but the Minnesota Board has, so that’s the ruling Modern Glam is following. According to their Facebook page the business hopes to be back open on April 1.
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Before they shut down co-owner Megan Otto says they were seeing a lot of people making hair appointments. Older customers were canceling appointments, but as soon as there’d be a cancellation a younger person would make an appointment.
“I cannot believe it,” says Otto. "The whole point of self-quarantine is to stay home and just try to stop the spread, but their hair is their number one concern. It just blows my mind.”
One business that has stayed open and plans on staying open until they hear otherwise from the government is Emerson on Main.
“We’re planning on just being open and just doing more on Facebook to keep people aware that we’re still here,” says Ken Emerson. “I know people probably won’t be shopping but once we get things back to normal we’ll still be in their thoughts if we put out Facebook reminders.”
Emerson also said his store is offering curbside and home delivery to those people who don’t want to come into the store. But the store is still open to customers. They’re taking time to clean after every customer leaves. So far business has slowed down a bit, but Emerson says as long as they stay in people’s minds during this time they should be OK.
“We’re just trying to tell everyone it’s going to be OK and God’s got it,” says Emerson.
To help people as they are spending more time at home, the Osage Knights of Columbus has prepared a plan to offer fish dinners by pick-up on Friday nights beginning March 27 through April 10.
The TO-GO Fish Dinners will be offered by call-in preorders. Orders can be placed daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. by calling 641-732-4492. After 3 p.m. March 27 call in orders to Columbus Club phone 641-732-5453. Orders must be placed by 6 p.m. that night. Drive-through pickup will be in the parking lot at the east side kitchen door. Exact change or check is required. The meals will be brought to your car.
One business that is booming, as can be expected during a time when people are seeking out food and cleaning supplies, is Randy’s Neighborhood Market.
“We’re handling it the best we can, but it’s been pretty stressful,” says store manager Steve Perrin.
The only grocery store in Osage is experiencing the same shortages that are currently happening all over the U.S. Perrin says he’s been seeing the same panic and hoarding that’s been going on, and so he has set limits on the amounts of supplies customers can buy. But he also says that if he knows a customer has a bigger family he’s letting those families take a bit more.
According to Perrin his store saw almost 1,900 customers in just two days. The store can’t keep supplies on the shelves.
Perrin says the trucks that bring supplies to the store are running a day/day and a half behind schedule due to the high demand. So an order he placed on Wednesday wouldn’t be getting there until Friday afternoon. On Wednesday he already had plans to make another order by 4 p.m. on Saturday so it would get to the store by Monday.
The employees are taking cleaning seriously. According to Perrin, cleaning supplies are kept up front so that every time a customer is done with a cart an employee can wipe it down. The conveyor belts at checkout are cleaned after every other customer.
“If any of our employees have any resemblance of a cold or a cough they’re told to go home because we’re not going to have that in here,” says Perrin. “They might just have allergies and stuff like that but I can’t take that chance.”
The store is also having Senior Citizen Hours, where anyone 60 or older can come into the store from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. They will be the only ones allowed in the store.
“We’re here to support the town of Osage and our customers and try to do the best we can for them,” says Perrin.
Molly Adamson is the community editor for the Press News. You can reach her at 515-508-1134.