This pandemic is a terribly frightening, disrupting and unprecedented situation in the history of the world. It is of such mammoth proportions that it is hard to grasp and so I look to our minute experience to try and make sense.
Yesterday (3/24) was the first day in almost 24 years of business ownership that I entered a $0.00 in the new orders spreadsheet for a day we were open, Our business is very event driven - our awards are mostly presentation pieces and our largest market is universities so the period that decides if we have a bad or good year is March - late June.
My main worry has been my incredible staff. I just can't imagine laying any one of them off and thanks to the SBA it looks like I won't have to. Any of our customers will understand what I mean. The sales staff - Karen and Cory offer such amazing customer service and they truly care about each order. The Production group of Scott, James and Sandy are each committed to making awards, signs, name pins or fun custom pieces perfect. It is a whole group effort.
After all these years cutting plastic and breathing in metal dust, I have asthma and am therefore at risk. My husband Steve who was my business partner until Alzheimer's side-lined him is also in the high risk category. My staff supports us and covers for me much more than I know and you can't just hire a new group like that.
Back when the Governor was Lt. Governor, he spent a day at the store helping us with our work. So while I don't agree politically a lot of the time, I know Governor Phil Scott as a good, thoughtful, caring man and I am very glad to have someone with his qualities steering our State's response to this disaster. I know that he knows how hard this is on us and all the other small businesses he spent a day working with.
Spring will not care about a virus so the sun will shine and the flowers will bloom.
I hope, when this is all over and there will be so many people to thank, our customers will turn to us to help make sure that our tag line, Recognition is Respect Made Visible, is on full view.
Stay Safe, Be Patient and Be Well,
Margi Brownfield Swett, owner/engraver