Thoughts on Covid from a small business owner
I tend to type too much. Here is the basic summary. Running a business during Covid is not all that fun. The Jewelers Workshop is doing alright, but like all mom and pop businesses we need you more than ever during this tough year. Also, I kind of tear up when I think about how grateful I am for the amazing people who patronize our business and allow us to do what we do even during a pandemic.
As I write this it is November 19th, 2020. Somehow I feel like I want to talk directly to you about Covid 19 as it relates to Jewelers Workshop. Moving and operating a business during a pandemic makes a man think. Sometimes I am scared. Sometimes I get depressed. I feel a lot of responsibility and I am incredibly grateful.
A little over a year ago, I submitted an offer to buy 2110 Atwood Ave. It was a huge investment in this business. I wouldn’t call it a gamble. I have owned Jewelers Workshop for about 5 years and we have been saving money the whole time. But commercial real estate is expensive. The check I signed to buy the building and remodel it was 5 times as large as the check we wrote to buy our home. We aren’t rich. We are still paying off a student loan and my in-laws for the initial purchase of the business. But my wife supported the idea. My staff and our customers were overwhelmingly positive. It made a lot of sense. It was expensive but it made sense.
So then Covid happened, we didn’t really get a moving sale. There were remodeling delays and strange things. We benefited from all the small business loans that are out there, but lost out on the moving sale bonanza I was hoping would pay for a $100,000 or so of the new debt I have. I was also hoping I could have balloons and champagne to celebrate the new store. That didn’t happen either.
Somewhat surprisingly, the business is doing really pretty well, all things considered. We are still making jewelry. Sometimes the foot traffic is great because of the improved location and I know in five years I am going to look back and know that despite everything it was a great time to move the business.
We have taken Covid 19 seriously from day one. We are doing our best. Masks have been the rule for a long time here and the new space really does help us spread everyone out. So I think we are acting as safe as we can for our staff and customers.
But it was really scary. Five figure contractor bills were piling up on the desk and revenue was close to zero.
May is usually the second best month of the year. We lost the whole month due to Covid. December is the highest grossing month of the year. I am afraid we may lose some of it either from a necessary lock down or customers shopping in different ways. I implore you to try hard to shop locally. I totally understand not wanting to go into small stores and deal with a salesperson in your face. Clicking a button on Amazon is easier. But if things get bad, some of your favorite stores may not be there next year. Not a single Jewelers Workshop employee has missed a paycheck during 2020, because the virus. I take a great deal of pride in that. I am fighting hard to honor my commitment to my staff. I thankfully don’t need to do a go fund me campaign or anything close to that. But I do need to ask for your business and your consideration.
People still fall in love during pandemics. That was good for business. Nothing we sell is essential, but symbols are important and we love providing those little symbols of love and appreciation. In a society where much of what we buy is disposable, I like that we build family heirlooms. In return we will do our best to provide a safe environment and as many shopping options as possible.
As I ask for your continued patronage. I am reminded about how grateful I am to be able to do this job, work with my coworkers/employees, make beautiful jewelry for you and others in our community. I never set out with a goal to own a jewelry store or be a working artist, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and am very grateful for the opportunity to continue to do our thing during and after the pandemic. Thank you!