ARDMORE, Pa. (CBS) — Small businesses across the Delaware Valley are struggling with the decision whether to stay open or close during the coronavirus pandemic. One store in Delaware County is finding a unique way to adapt.
The shelves of pucciManuli in Ardmore are fully stocked, featuring handmade toys from around the world.
But there are no customers.
“We’re in uncharted territory,” owner Carrie Kohs said.
Gov. Wolf’s suggestion non-essential businesses should close is forcing local shops to get creative to stay viable #coronavirus. @pucciManuli in Ardmore is FaceTiming w customers and offering free deliver w/in 5 miles and curbside pickup without knowing when they’ll be open again pic.twitter.com/vubwAfFG2j
— Dan Koob (@DanKoob) March 15, 2020
Kohs prides herself on providing a place for people to touch and feel, so she agonized over the decision, but ultimately chose to heed Gov. Tom Wolf’s suggestion that non-essential businesses close to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“If I knew that I, in any way, contributed in any sense to just one person passing this onto anybody, that’s not something I’m comfortable with,” Kohs said.
There are no batteries or electronics sold in the store and that’s because Kohs says she wants her toys to inspire imagination.
Kohs is now applying that logic to her business as they’re simply unsure when the doors will open again.
“Necessity is the mother of all invention and innovation,” Kohs said. “We have our thinking caps on.”
Now the store is adapting, setting up appointments through their website with customers to shop virtually over their phones or tablets, walking the aisles and talking toys.
She’s catering to a no-touch crowd with curbside pickup and free delivery within five miles.
“I think it’s smart because they still giving the local, small business, business,” customer Mary Kate Weeks said. “Under what our governor is hoping for, which is the social distance and not exposing anyone who can’t be exposed right now, it’s a band-aid.”
But it’s what a small business must do to get by during a pandemic.
“I don’t have an immediate answer for you. We’ll have to see,” Kohs said. “We’ll have to see how creative we can get.”