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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When sisters Paula and Sam Kramer purchased Baguette Magic in November, they envisioned a casual bakery where customers could come in and stay awhile for breakfast or lunch. But the storefront had to close its doors four months later, as the coronavirus outbreak swept through the state.
Where regular patrons used to come in and out, the facility is now filled with assembly stations made of tables pushed into rows to fulfill online orders through their new Bag-ette delivery service.
“We decided we would not be opening our bakery with the regular menu because we didn’t want to expose any possible risk to our staff,” Paula Kramer said. “So instead, we’re putting everything we have into producing and distributing.”
Customers can order locally made bread, as well as meat and produce, for delivery once a week, with a minimum $40 order. Baguette Magic has also partnered with food service businesses including Second State Coffee, Vicious Biscuit and Rio Bertolini to support other local businesses.
Although the Kramers knew they had to pivot their relatively new business to function solely online, they said the changes haven’t set them back; rather, they have provided them with a new way to serve the community.
“It (delivery) was something we always had in mind, but we were so busy running the restaurant before,” Paula Kramer said. “Now we’re set up for online ordering, so we’re excited to take advantage of that once we reopen.”
The Kramers also are asking customers to leave nonperishable food items by the door to be donated to local food banks.
Paula Kramer said further plans to expand community outreach are in the works, such as a note exchange system where customers can upload digital notes of encouragement and drawings to be included in other customers’ delivery bags.
“We’ve just been trying to think outside the box because we’re all just trying to do the best we can,” Paula Kramer said. “We’re all struggling, but we want to encourage people to support local and to know that you’re not alone.”