Business owners credit community support for staying afloat during pandemic

Laveta Brigham

Esoteric Brewery Chief Marketing Officer Marvin Abrinica said running a small business during this pandemic has been like operating a business with one arm tied behind his back.In April, Abrinica and two partners opened the city’s first Black and Asian-owned brewery in Walnut Hills to much fanfare. “There’s so many […]

Esoteric Brewery Chief Marketing Officer Marvin Abrinica said running a small business during this pandemic has been like operating a business with one arm tied behind his back.In April, Abrinica and two partners opened the city’s first Black and Asian-owned brewery in Walnut Hills to much fanfare. “There’s so many challenges that are facing us, including the concerns over COVID and people not necessarily feeling always comfortable coming out, and then all of the precautions we have to make for people who do want to come out,” Abrinica said.They installed plexiglass barriers and hand sanitizing stations, enforced social distancing and mask-wearing, and they do digital orderings. “Anybody can order a beer, you could order howlers, we also have all of our merchandise on there,” Abrinica said.Over in Bond Hill, Monica Williams opened her Just Cooking Soul Food restaurant in April after a long battle with the city and leaving her location in the West End. “With the pandemic, all the rules and regulations have affected the business, some positive and some negative. The biggest thing is the carryout orders in and out and just letting people get comfortable with the mask on,” Williams said. With lines of people down the sidewalk waiting for a taste of her cooking, Williams said the community support and trust has been amazing. This eco-friendly, organic children’s clothing store in OTR, Hutch Baby, opened in late 2019. Still, the pandemic caused a major shift.”It’s definitely decreased our foot traffic,” manager and visual Merchandiser Alexis Wilson said.The biggest change has been increasing the store’s online presence, as online purchases now outweigh in store.”Social media is a really big thing right now for businesses to kind of stay afloat, if you’re not a restaurant or a bar,” Wilson said.

Esoteric Brewery Chief Marketing Officer Marvin Abrinica said running a small business during this pandemic has been like operating a business with one arm tied behind his back.

In April, Abrinica and two partners opened the city’s first Black and Asian-owned brewery in Walnut Hills to much fanfare.

“There’s so many challenges that are facing us, including the concerns over COVID and people not necessarily feeling always comfortable coming out, and then all of the precautions we have to make for people who do want to come out,” Abrinica said.

They installed plexiglass barriers and hand sanitizing stations, enforced social distancing and mask-wearing, and they do digital orderings.

“Anybody can order a beer, you could order howlers, we also have all of our merchandise on there,” Abrinica said.

Over in Bond Hill, Monica Williams opened her Just Cooking Soul Food restaurant in April after a long battle with the city and leaving her location in the West End.

“With the pandemic, all the rules and regulations have affected the business, some positive and some negative. The biggest thing is the carryout orders in and out and just letting people get comfortable with the mask on,” Williams said.

With lines of people down the sidewalk waiting for a taste of her cooking, Williams said the community support and trust has been amazing.

This eco-friendly, organic children’s clothing store in OTR, Hutch Baby, opened in late 2019. Still, the pandemic caused a major shift.

“It’s definitely decreased our foot traffic,” manager and visual Merchandiser Alexis Wilson said.

The biggest change has been increasing the store’s online presence, as online purchases now outweigh in store.

“Social media is a really big thing right now for businesses to kind of stay afloat, if you’re not a restaurant or a bar,” Wilson said.

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