Written by Emily Glaser
Ten businesses, four weeks, one community. How ten Capital at Play alumni pivoted in the face of pandemic in order to support their businesses, staff, and community.
On a gloomy Monday morning in mid-March, one in a series of sunless, leaden days, Emily Copus walked into her business and announced, “We’re starting a grocery store!”
It was not an inherently unreasonable proposition — after all, grocery delivery, Copus’ concept, is an increasingly popular industry that’s trickling down from mega-apps and superstores into small towns’ small businesses — but Copus is a flower farmer, not a grocer, and she proposed launching her new business concept not in a matter of months, but days.
It’s a narrative that would have seemed absurd in February, but by the third week of March, it was just one in an endless series of unpredictable pivots as, all around the region, the state, the country, and the world, small business owners and entrepreneurs made similarly surprising announcements to their staff and customers. On that same day, March 23rd, Harvest Records’ co-owner Mark Capon buckled up in his black sedan to deliver records across Western North Carolina; East Fork Pottery was less than 24 hours into its first ever pre-sale; and Cultivated Cocktails turned out some 500 gallons of hand sanitizer. None of these were purportedly “normal” operations, but “normal” is an adjective whose connotation was entirely forfeited by COVID-19.
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