Local small businesses working to stay afloat while some close to the public

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Inside Scuppernong Books, owner Brian Lampkin is taking orders for pickup and delivery while the store remains closed.

“We’re shipping books out at a dollar shipping charge. We think reading is important,” LAMPKIN SAID. “Is it an essential business? Maybe not, but books are pretty important to a lot of people.”

His shop is also offering curbside pickup after Lampkin decided to close the doors Monday.

“There’s just no choice at the moment. We have to let this play out at the moment for at least a few weeks. At least a month or more,” Lampkin said.

As small businesses find creative ways to make sales while reducing contact, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is hosting daily conference calls to connect owners with resources.

“We’re trying to help those business owners and managers…almost at a minute-by-minute basis,” said Chamber President and CEO Brent Christensen.

Christensen explained that staff members are staying busy helping business owners navigate telework and financial assistance.

“We will have calls where we’re talking about, what should you be talking to your lenders your bankers about? What should you be talking to the SBA about in terms of financial relief as we go forward?”

At Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast, co-owner James Keith says staff members are working to take advantage of their down time.

 “This is a chance for those of us in service to really get in and make the health department happy, clean places that are usually very hidden, really get in to the nooks and crannies and check off a project list that’s been there for over a year,“ Keith said.

The bed and breakfast lost reservations, events and planned weddings.

“While we need their support, they also have to do what they have to do, so we’re working which each of them individually. It takes a lot of time, but you do what you have to do,” Keith said.

He said staff members are working to launch a curbside pickup service from their kitchen and plan to sell some of their wine inventory since it will sit unused.

Keith said while his business is struggling, he hopes people will remember those who are losing work during the outbreak.

“Find a musician you know. Give them money. Find a server who can’t bartend and make their rent. Support them. Do all you can for them through this time, and it’s hard. Because you rely on them when times are good to give you a great night out, give them a little love while they can’t,“ Keith said.

Tim Ward, Executive Vice President of Marsh & McLennan Agency, said Tuesday that most businesses are not covered under their insurance for losses due to a pandemic.

Ward explained that even during natural disasters, loss to property is typically all that is covered for a business owner.

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