How Has the Pandemic Affected Your Business?
Local business owners offer their thoughts Compiled by: Jessica Hunter
"While the pandemic has negatively affected many businesses, the mental health field has seen an influx as anxiety and depression rates continue to rise. Although my business has continued to grow during this time, increased restrictions and fears of contracting COVID have changed how I provide service. The switch from providing primarily face-to-face sessions to now doing telehealth has required me to connect with my clients and their families in a different way. The use of traditional nonverbal cues and facial expressions is not as observable on the computer which can create a disconnect between the counselor and the client. In an effort to resolve this, I have worked diligently to build rapport with my clients and create a safe space for them to question, share, and grow." — Chelsea Curlett, Chelsea Curlett Counseling Services
"Like every business, our business has been impacted by the pandemic. To some degree, we have lost contracts as businesses close and cost-cut, but our company supports local businesses in managing their web presence, which has become more important than ever, thereby more than doubling our workload under similar revenue.
We've learned a couple of big lessons. One is simply disaster preparedness and having contingency plans for moving workers home. The second is that no one wants to see anyone hurt in a crisis. But whether your business is expanding or shrinking, there is hardship in both, and no one is 'unaffected' — we really are in this together." — David Hunter, Epic Web Studios
"The pandemic has obviously been a whirlwind for all the hospitality industry, specifically here in Erie, but Red Letter has — I think — only grown from this pandemic. We really took a look at all the different angles on how we can better our business, and how we can continue to grow in the community, build partnerships, grow our team, and grow internally. We decided that we can either be upset and sad and depressed about this, or we can take the high road and figure out how we come out stronger. And that's just what we were determined to do." — Annē Lewis, Red Letter Hospitality
"The last year has impacted nearly every aspect of yogaErie, from being forced to close, then to changing how we offer yoga, to the obvious financial losses. Although it felt devastating at times, the pandemic taught us how to pivot again and again, from virtual yoga to parking lot yoga and now back to the newly expanded studio. We discovered we could still offer the best of power yoga under any circumstances." — Jill Murphey, yogaErie
"2020 and the COVID pandemic has really changed how I had to approach my business. In May 2020 I had to go back to work full time just to keep income flowing. But since January 2021 the business has really turned around, and I've been able to be back in the shop full time and have a steady flow of work. I'm also expanding the shop to offer classes and sell lumber and supplies. Being flexible and having more streams of income have been the lessons I've learned in the past year." — Armando Reyes, Lake Erie Woodworks
"Being a small startup in the middle of our buildout phase as the world shutdown was not a great place to be. Small businesses have been more harshly impacted than any other business segment.
A situation like that will force any entrepreneur to become more strategic than ever before. That is exactly what happened. We became laser-focused, we made some tough decisions, and pivoted to get Fit Plus through the short term and set us up for long-term success.
One thing that is for sure going forward for all business owners and entrepreneurs out there… is after all 2020 has shown us, if you are not prepared for the worst going forward you have missed out on one hell of a business lesson." — Jack Sullivan Owner Fit Plus, IFBB Pro League Int. Head Judge