By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — So many local businesses have taken a huge hit during the economic shutdown. To stay afloat, many restaurants are offering take away or meal kits that families can make at home.

Now small business owners in other industries are getting creative, as well.

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These are the literal signs of our time, businesses closed and shuttered throughout Philadelphia, as shelter-in-place restrictions stretch into the second full month.

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“Did you ever in a million years think you would experience what you are experiencing now?” CBS3’s Greg Argos asked.

“Never in a million years,” Expressive Hand Pottery Studio owner Marcie Ziskind said.

Normally their tables are filled with customers painting and decorating their pieces.

But with five employees still on the payroll, Ziskind has borrowed the new business model many restaurants are taking and bringing her product into customer’s homes.

“I thought about pottery to go because it’s a great way to spend time in your home with your family where you’re safe and comfortable,” Ziskind said.

Customers can pick an unfinished piece, Ziskind then packs it up with paint and brushes and coordinates a no-contact delivery.

“I feel in business if you cannot be resilient, you are not going to make it,” she said.

George Caroulis has the same mentality.

His South Philadelphia gym, Crossfit 2 Street, has been closed since late March.

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“We have lost some people who have been laid off with their jobs and I understand,” Caroulis said.

But he has adapted his business, offering daily virtual classes for members.

Caroulis and his coaches are instructing class from their house.

“We have a morning class, a midday class and an evening class,” he said.

Members use borrowed equipment from the gym or items found at home.

“Go downstairs and grab your laundry detergent and we’re going to use that as your resistance today,” Caroulis said.

He’s even created a Zoom-only membership for new members.


Like Ziskind, he’s adapting to a new way of keeping their small businesses open.

“This was thrown in my lap and I’m just going to embrace it and go with it,” Ziskind said.

Both business owners say the changes are helpful, but of course, they are not fully covering the gaps.

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They’ve both applied for local and federal small business grants.