Back in December, 2019, I wrote a column about the sense of community my husband Houston and I have experienced since moving to Corsicana last August. I’ve got to say that the support we’ve felt in our new town has only intensified in the past two months.
In mid March, none of us knew how badly COVID-19 would affect our lives or our livelihood. There have been daily updates online regarding the current number of cases, deaths and recoveries associated with the virus, but those numbers only attempt to identify the physical results of COVID-19. What those statistics do NOT tell us is the story of how the global pandemic has affected small businesses.
My husband and I own a small business in Navarro County. Like others, we’ve been impacted financially by the shutdowns. And like others, we’ve tried to come up with creative ways to keep our business’s name in front of our customers and potential customers. Many have an online presence which lets followers know specials and delivery options. Others have sold gift cards online that may be used at a later date. And recently, some of us have been able to open our doors to limited numbers of clientele, after carefully considering the safety of those clients and our employees.
In a time where consumers feel immobilized or out of control, it has given them a way to support local businesses. Sure, it might be different from the way they’ve traditionally shopped or ordered, but with limited options in so many areas of their lives, the ability to DO something is, for some, a godsend.
When glamping and events were not an option at our venue, we soon saw an increased number of people wanting to buy our produce. It turns out that during quarantine a large number of people began cooking in earnest. We’ve gotten so many new customers for our hydroponic produce. And as restrictions have lifted, people have begun making glamping reservations or inquiring about farm tours.
The groundswell of folks wanting to support local businesses has been such an encouragement. And the actual dollar amount doesn’t matter so much. Our farm may sell a $3 bag of lettuce mix. A coffee shop may ring up a $5 specialty drink. A gift shop might get an order for a graduation gift. Still other business owners might get an encouraging email or text message. Whatever the purchase or gesture, it gives us as owners one more reason to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.
Whether we use adjectives like lucky, fortunate or blessed, we know that things could have gone much differently. For some it has. But for those of us who today have our doors open, we’ve realized the importance of supporting one another. Just knowing that we value one another has brought us closer as a community.
Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. Her column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, appears each week in the Corsicana Daily Sun. You may reach her at email@example.com. For more information on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out purdongroves.com or visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.