by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
The coronavirus has every business in different ways. Some businesses are seeing heightened revenue from delivery sales, like Amazon, while others going bankrupt. North Carolina businesses have seen a variety of outcomes. For instance, as JLF’s Mitch Kokai writes in Carolina Journal, some businesses have found ways to continue on and carve out new market space:
Working with small farmers, Joyce’s business usually focuses on supplying beef, poultry, and pork to restaurant chefs. Distribution ranges from New England to the Caribbean and as far west as St. Louis.
The pandemic hit Joyce Farms hard. “What we saw within about a 36-hour period of time … is our business ground to a halt,” Joyce said. “Ninety-six percent of our customers basically were shut down.”
Like other business owners facing such a major shock, Joyce scrambled to adapt. Work with a northern distributor led to a major shift: smaller, retail-sized packaging for the meat. Within two weeks, that distributor pivoted from wholesale restaurant delivery to home delivery. Several weeks later, the distributor’s business with Joyce Farms had returned close to pre-COVID-19 levels.
That’s not the only change. “Our web business has gone through the roof,” Joyce said.
Other businesses have not been as lucky. Kokai writes:
Working with the food supply, Joyce has enjoyed freedom to adapt and innovate. Pinkerton hasn’t had the same chance.
His fitness center is one type of business specifically targeted for shutdown in connection with the pandemic. But Pinkerton hoped that innovative safety measures might help him keep his doors open. He developed an appeal for the N.C. Revenue Department.
“We provided as thorough a plan as I could put in place,” Pinkerton explained during the JLF forum. “It covered everything from taking people’s temperature when they come in, having a log that I could submit that tracks symptoms.”
…The four-and-a-half-page plan made little difference to Revenue Department regulators. “I got the cookie-cutter response that said we are not deemed essential,” Pinkerton said.
JLF’s Jon Sanders detailed the plight of another business who ultimately had to close down permanently due to the stay-at-home orders. He shared this announcement from Trali Irish Pub:
The longer this goes on, the more businesses will have their entire operations altered in the mix. Many will come out unrecognizable or not at all.