Small Business Owners Inspiring Me During COVID-19

by | Mar 18, 2020 | Cost of Living & Economy, EA Stories, NE Ohio in the News

The office building I work in is apocalyptically quiet this week. For the first time in my life, everyone in the entire world is facing the same crisis. It feels like COVID-19 will be to us what the Great Depression was to our grandparents.
My late husband and I used to get jazzed up just a few years ago when news of an approaching vicious winter storm would scare the bejeebers out of us. We’d stock the pantry, put batteries in our flashlights, and make sure we had candles. We were thankful our fireplace and cooktop were gas, not electric (in case we lost power). We’d actually look forward to a weather-induced forced unplugging from the world as we anticipated hunkering down for two or three days. It was like returning to old timey days. Wow, I really miss that feeling!  When there is no end in sight, the global economy is shaken to the core, and we will all eventually know someone who gets Coronavirus…well, that changes your outlook altogether.
Like a lot of small business owners, the phones stopped ringing on Monday. There aren’t even any emails to respond to. What is everyone doing? Most entrepreneurs I know love being busy. We like a day stacked with meetings, sales calls, talking to co-workers, and diving into projects. All of that disappeared this week. That wouldn’t be horrible, except then we slowly lost every social and emotional outlet we had. There’s no dining out, no film festival, no Indians opening day to look forward to, no dinner parties with friends.  So, in order to avoid cabin fever and panic, I will focus on positive things happening and share those stories.
I loved this video of Doug Katz, restauranteur extraordinaire, delivering food from Zhug to my boyfriend’s next door neighbor, Joanie Adler, on her 80th birthday. It was his first delivery during the Coronavirus era, and he’s trying to figure out new ways keep his food establishments going.
And my neighbor in Tremont, Jay Demagall: his Forest City Brewery in Tremont’s Duck Island neighborhood adapted a bicycle for deliveries to carry growlers filled with their beer to those in need of a cold one!
Fellow Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator member Destiny Burns, who owns Cleveland Urban Winery, is using her “free time” to do good, donating items from her pantry to the Cleveland Food Bank. Another – Adam Fleischer – who owns Wine Spot created a Facebook page for shuttered restaurants who are doing takeout and deliveries. Because how horrid would it be two months from now, when we are all “back to normal,” if all our favorite spots are closed forever? And both of these locations can still sell wine to go. Let’s face it, we should all have an extra case or two in our house!
A bit further away, but I love this: Paper manufacturer in New Bangor Maine sees need and begins making toilet paper. AWESOME ability to pivot!
Finally, it’s nice to see so many neighbors out walking (the only socially acceptable way to talk to other human beings in person right now!). Craig and I stop to say talk to others at least once on every walk. We realize that we are all soon going to be starved for human interaction. Thank goodness this is happening in spring and not the dead of winter when it’s too nasty to go outside! Looking at the positives.


I know that there will be pent-up demand for Executive Arrangements the minute this is under control, so I just need to do what I can to keep the lights on, be kind to others, and keep engaged with my staff who are not with me in the office. I hope and pray they will all be returning very soon. Please share stories you hear of people doing kind things or reinventing their businesses to stay alive. We all need inspiration now, right?