Editor's Note: This is the seventh in a series of short features on small businesses responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Everyday Chef, which has two stores — one in Jonesboro and one in Little Rock — is sending its customers online and offering to deliver bridal registry gifts as walk-in business wanes in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business is “very, very slow,” owner Linda Wofford said, though her stores are open and their hours haven’t changed. She hasn't had to lay off any of her 13 employees yet, either.
The Jonesboro and Little Rock stores opened in 2013 and 2016, respectively. They sell china, tabletop items, kitchen accessories and more.
“We’re trying to hang on as long as we can, to see … how this is going to be,” she said.
From March 9-14, the Jonesboro store recorded 83 sales and the Little Rock store recorded 68 sales, according to Wofford. Last week, from March 16-21, the Jonesboro store had 56 sales and the Little Rock store had 23. Those totals include online sales. In fact, she said, about half of the sales were online, which isn’t the norm. Wofford has locked the doors of the Little Rock store to prevent people from browsing.
“We have a lot of bridal registries, and we want people to feel comfortable if they need to come in and buy gifts,” Wofford said. “But, as far as just coming in to browse and you know, kill time, we don't need that. We think that that's not in the spirit of what's going on right now,”
The doors of the Jonesboro store haven’t been locked yet, because not many people have been coming into that store to browse, she added.
Wofford said the stores continue to send out email blasts asking their customers to buy items and gifts from registries online. “And then we'll meet them at the door or at the curb and give their package to them,” she said.
Wofford added that she feels “so sorry” for a main customer segment: brides who have postponed their weddings and, for the most part, canceled their bridal showers because of the pandemic.