Local businesses navigate through crises in unique ways

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — In the five days since Illinois’ shelter in place order went into effect, many franchisees and small businesses have had to close their doors.

Although several business owners have been thrown into the mix of uncertainty, there are those that are pushing through the tough times in unique ways.

Sara O’ shea, owner of So Chic Boutique in Peoria Heights, said her staff voluntarily closed up shop a week before Governor Pritzker issued the stay-at-home order. However, she said she’s found a way to turn lemons into lemonade.

“For us, we’ve kind of looked at it as an opportunity to adapt and get creative and honestly even just do somethings that have been on our to-do list for a long time,” O’shea said.

O’shea said they’re offering Facetime shopping where So Chic shoppers can have a tour of the inventory and make purchases from their own home.

She also said online sales for their “boxes of chic”, which are pre-curated gift ideas, have increased more in the past week than the past three years. O’shea said they’re even helping out for the Easter season.

“We’ve pre-curated Easter bundles,” O’shea said. “Just fun things that spread a little sunshine and keeps them [customers] out of having to go to the shops because we can take care of it for them.”

Over in Goodfield, Abby Reel, owner of the Barn III Dinner Theatre, said the theatre has seen better days.

“One of the most difficult decisions for us throughout this crisis has been coming to the tough decision to temporarily lay off employees,” Reel said.

“Before we had to shut down due to coronavirus, we had just purchased a fridge full of about $10,000 worth of food and booze,” Reel said. “It was meant to be fed to our customers in the coming weeks.”

She said in order to make sure the food doesn’t go to waste, the theatre is selling Friday Night Light Dinners to help support their own.

“That money is not going back to the barn but is entirely going back to the employees who are most financially impacted in our family in our barn family by the crisis,” Reel said.

In the end, both businesses are thanking those supporting them.

“I think it’s just such a great time to bless small businesses,” O’shea said.

“Somethings just have a will to live and I believe that about our small businesses and our community and I know that we are all banding together,” Reel said.

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