When social distancing regulations were first implemented as the COVID-19 virus spread, several independent gourmet retailers were forced to temporarily close their physical doors.
Without the important foot traffic they rely on, store owners were faced with the challenge of how to keep the business afloat. The situation inspired them to tap into their creativity to generate sales.
GOURMET INSIDER® recently spoke with Becki Melvie, owner of The Abundant Kitchen, with locations in Buffalo and Excelsior, MN, about some of the successful pivots she implemented to keep her business going.
“Our virtual cooking classes have had a good response, and have helped us engage customers and keep revenue coming in,” she said. “The classes have also opened up the brand to more people. I’m cooking recipes from the store’s ‘The Abundant Kitchen Cookbook’ and we are sharing ideas.
The classes have been so successful that she plans to continue hosting them online, even after the store reopens.
“After this is over, I think we may have a change in the way people socialize, so I’ll keep virtual cooking classes,” she said. “Some of the people that attend are not able to come to my regularly scheduled Buffalo location classes because they live 50 or more miles away, so they like the fact they can still experience a class with me.”
In addition to the positive response to her virtual classes, Melvie said she’s also had great customer response to FaceTime shopping, curbside pick-up and free local delivery. Social media has also helped, enabling her to keep customers updated on what services she’s currently offering.
“During this time, I’ve learned how much my community appreciates my business,” she said. “They have been supporting us by purchasing gift cards, sharing social media posts, and shopping when they can.”