Brad and Karen Hughes, owner of the Cincinnati, OH-based independent housewares store, Artichoke, may have thought things would have slowed down during the COVID-19 pandemic. But in fact, the couple said the business has still been busier than anticipated.
“We’ve been getting a number of calls from people saying, ‘We want to support you guys, we love your store,’” co-owner Karen Hughes recently told the Cincinnati Business Journal.
However, retailers remain impacted by social distancing orders and fear of catching Coronavirus. If and when restrictions begin to ease, there are still many questions that need to be answered. Will customers feel safe returning to a shopping venue? Will people forget the pride they had shopping locally when they were home and return to the convenience of delivery?
Brad Hughes said that the couple has worked hard to create a community of people – home cooks, professional chefs and just those who shop the store for recreation – and will be relying heavily on that community in order to help the business bounce back.
Hughes went on to add that Artichoke plans to bring its staff back to work this week, and there are plans in place to ensure that everyone stays socially distanced and as protected as possible. However, explained Karen Hughes, while the industry has been fighting the battle against big box stores and online giants for some time, this is a whole new challenge.
“We’re in a brave new world,” she said.
The store recently celebrated its fourth anniversary in business, marking several milestone accomplishments along the way, including HTI’s Rising Star Retailer award; Gourmet Insider All-Star Retailer; and the Global Innovation (gia) award.
To see a gallery of the store, click here.