Coping with COVID
SC Biz News is speaking with small businesses and community leaders about the impact of the new coronavirus on business and industry, and how this is changing how they operate.
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The COO of a 1,700-acre master-planned community in north Mount Pleasant said the coronavirus outbreak has changed how the business interacts with customers with a shift to virtual showings, but marketing efforts are ongoing.
Brian Keels said no one has been laid off, and everyone is working somewhat differently through the COVID-19 outbreak, but Carolina Park is still doing business.
“It’s interesting. Traffic has slowed down a bit. Some other communities are still seeing people come through the door,” Keels said. “We’ve sort of had to revert to meetings by appointment only.”
He said Carolina Park is limiting most of the showings to virtual inquiries as well, which potential buyers understand and respond to, but there are still opportunities for in-person showings with proper precautions in place. That’s really up to the desires of the customer and the comfort level of the listing agent, he said.
“Everything has had to go a lot more virtual,” he said. “If someone still wants to look at a home, our agents can walk through it, take a video and send them pictures.”
Keels said in the past few weeks, they haven’t had any sales closed using the virtual model, but he’s fairly sure that will happen soon, and the company hasn’t stopped its marketing efforts, especially digitally. Carolina Park figures a lot of prospects have time on their hands, and that might spark interest from a potential buyer.
“There’s going to be some pent-up demand. If you’re able to conserve some cash through this and hunker down, I think on the other side of this we’re going to see a boom,” Keels said.
Keels said he wasn’t surprised to see the Charleston community start to pull together to come up with ways to weather this outbreak and lockdown.
“The shutdown is certainly going to have a big impact on the economy, but we’re hopeful that on the other side of this it’s going to lead to a big burst,” Keels said. “It’s a difficult thing, but we just have to be optimistic.”