Small businesses across the Rio Grande Valley are moving quickly to adapt to a new and shocking environment they were thrown into by the coronavirus crisis.
New days, new paths
Linda’s Cakes & Desserts in Brownsville is now selling essential items such as eggs, milk, potatoes and beans in addition to their usual assortment of sweets. Hardknox Strength & Performance, also of Brownsville, is using its social media outlets to reach clients with live workouts that try to match the in-gym workouts at a new facility they had recently opened.
“Shutting our doors is the last thing we wanted to do,” said Hardknox owner Rodney McClanahan in a video to his clients. “You’re at home, not being able to leave, but we want you to have those feel good days, vibes, moments that you have at the gym.”
Andrea Bernes, the owner of Linda’s Cake, was approached by one of her suppliers to sell items like eggs, milk, and commercial style paper towels and toilet paper. She hesitated in saying yes to going beyond her core business. The long lines at grocery stores, however, convinced her to offer such items, especially to benefit nurses and other health professionals during these stressful times.
“They don’t have time to stand in line at H-E-B,” Bernes said of the health professionals who are being pressed into extra duties with the virus situation. “I’d feel bad if I could offer the community something like this, but didn’t because I didn’t want to put up with the extra effort to do it.”
Formulating game plans
Shannon Farrell owns a restaurant and bakery at the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets in Mercedes. The mall closed all of its businesses on March 18 before Texas Gov. Glenn Abbott ordered all restaurants across the state to temporarily shut down. Shannon’s Sweets was already doing deliveries of cakes, sandwiches and salads. Farrell is trying to ramp up that aspect of its business until some sort of regular business environment returns.
“We’ve formulated a game plan,” Farrell said. “We’re working with local businesses, seeing what they need and what we can do for them. We’re working at it, keeping our faith that God will get us through this.”