VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Since they reopened their doors, the owner of Cottonwood Market and Boutique said business has been going really well.
“It’s been great actually, it seems like what we were hoping would come out of this is that people would turn their focus more to small businesses, like ours. And I think that has happened. They realized that we are actually people, we are not a big boxed store,” said Samantha Schreiber, owner of Cottonwood Market and Boutique.
Cotton Wood Market and Boutique is more than just a store. They are also an arts and crafts studio where they provide painting and craft parties for the community or for private events. The shop works with local vendors and consigners.
When they had to close their doors in March, Schreiber didn’t know what to expect but knew she had to think outside the box to keep business afloat.
“We were stressed to say the least. We were thinking, how are we going to pivot to stay relevant, what can we do to be creative and think outside the box? So we can stay visible to our customers during this time. Even though we realized that might not be in the forefront of people’s minds coming in to shop,” said Schreiber.
So she began to increase the store’s social media presence and doing virtual activities for customers. Like video chatting people and taking them around the store and even hosting live events. They offered curbside pickup as well and every so often, they would have customers set up private appointments to come in and shop.
At that point, business was about half of what it used to be.
“So just really, that was our plan. How creative can we be to still stay in touch with the community,” said Schreiber.
The shop officially opened back up to for walk-ins about 2 weeks ago.
And some safety protocols in place include hand sanitizer by the door, social distancing and limit capacity of max eight people inside. The art studio should be reopening sometime next month. The precautions in place include having customers six feet apart. If they come in groups then six feet apart from the next table. Sanitize all the surfaces before and after. No sharing tools and people must bring their own aprons.
“And so just getting out of your comfort zone, sometimes that’s when you really grow. It’s not my favorite thing to do. But I really feel like it makes you stronger when you can get out of your comfort zone and see things come out that you didn’t know was there before,” said Schreiber.
Schreiber said the numbers are reaching what they used to be.
She is thankful for the community's support.