New local businesses open despite COVID-19 uncertainty
COLUMBIA —Despite ongoing uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, several business owners have opened up shop in the North Village Art District.
The Basement Reef, an aquarium shop, and Serendipity Salon and Gallery, both located in the North Village Arts District, recently opened their doors for the first time.
Scott’s Baked Goods is also planning on allowing customers in his storefront soon.
“When I think of a job for myself, it's hard to think of it not having a physical storefront," Basement Reef Owner Anthony Willroth said. " All that was actually born of the want to have a little more control over the environment in a pandemic."
Scott’s Baked Goods is the first certified-organic bakery in Missouri. The bakery’s owner Drew Scott, sold his products out of Columbia’s Farmers Market for three years before he bought a store front.
“We got some help from the city, we got a little bit of help from other sources to keep us going and I’d say we got our feet under,” Scott said. “We've figured out how to cope with the situation and pretty well, I mean, to at least to survive.”
According to a CNBC survey, “Nearly 7.5 million small businesses are at risk of closing their doors permanently over the next several months if the coronavirus pandemic persists.”
“It's hard to know how to have expectations," Elizabeth Jordheim, owner of Serendipity Salon and Gallery, said. "I do also, realistically expect that it's gonna be slower than average, just because getting your haircut or colored, there's not a necessity.”
To keep customers and employees safe, all stores are enforcing masks and social distancing at all times.
“I've installed an air purifier machine that changes out the air every few hours for this amount of space and a fan circulating," Jordheim said. "Absolutely masks all the time."
Starting a business during the pandemic does have some benefits.
“One advantage of opening in the middle of a pandemic is that we were able to consider things like social distancing and the floor plan from the inception of our business,” The Basement Reef owner said.
On Friday, these businesses are staying open until 9 p.m. to showcase their products and services.
“Think creatively and if you feel like, you know, you have an idea for a business, go ahead and take the risk if you're able and do it to the scale that you're able to handle," Jordheim said. "But you know, the whole world is shifting around so we have to be creative in how we adapt."