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Retailers Embrace Social Media To Connect Amid COVID-19

As governmental restrictions surrounding the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus have ramped up, even more independent kitchenware retailers have been forced to close their brick-and-mortar shops. Many have pivoted, shining the spotlight on their e-commerce business, as well as launching alternative services such as home delivery, curbside shopping and free shipping.

With that said, social media has become an essential tool that many are embracing on a larger scale than ever before. Original content delivered via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other outlets has become an essential vehicle for independent kitchenware store owners who keep in touch and keep the attention of customers.

From virtual store tours to live cooking demos, recipe shares and other types of content, GOURMET INSIDERĀ® has rounded up a few of the creative ways shop owners across the country are staying connected virtually, with customers.

Sarah Nicholas, owner of VA-based Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppe, which has locations in Lexington, Roanoke and Richmond, is hosting live cooking demos from her family home via the newly created Ladles & Linens Cooking School Facebook group.

Of the new group, Nicholas said, “We wanted to create a space where we could post videos, conduct live classes, post recipes, sell products, and share the love of food and togetherness!”

“Coffee with Coryanne,” is a new live daily show on Facebook and Instagram, launched by Coryanne Ettiene, owner of Ettiene Market, with locations in McKinney and Round Top, TX. The show, Ettiene said in a video, is a way to connect with the store’s customers and social media followers, and in her words, “spread the joy whether we are open or not.” The videos often feature Ettiene touring her store and discussing available products for delivery.

Becki Melvie, owner of The Abundant Kitchen, with locations in Buffalo and Excelsior, MN, is posting virtual shopping tours of the store via Facebook. During the tours, Melvie is highlighting new items, best sellers and seasonal goods, and chatting about their uses to inspire and help current and new, potential customers shop the store. Melvie has also been posting DIY videos covering topics such as drying herbs and sourdough bread making.

While Sweet Gourmet, located in Tyler, TX, is still open on a limited basis, store owner Pam Gabriel is updating customers about shop hours and available merchandise via Facebook and Instagram on a regular basis. In addition, Gabriel is providing cooking demos from her home kitchen that feature various cookware that she carries in the shop.

In lieu of postponing its scheduled in-store classes, The Mesa Kids Cooking School, an extension of Mesa, A Collaborative Kitchen, located in New Albany, IN, has launched an online kids cooking class series. The series is designed to keep students engaged while at home. The program also includes kits, available for curbside pickup, that come with essential tools and ingredients to go along with the recipes. The courses are $15 each.

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