March 30, 2020

Our Favorite Small Business Responses to COVID-19

Over the last few weeks, we, like many others, have worked to navigate a series of responses regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus). As companies worldwide work to protect their teams and customers, it leaves many of them asking the question, “How do we respond to this?” Or, even better, “How can we help?”

While much of the tone dominating the topic has induced worry, fear, and even distrust, there are countless occurrences of people and businesses coming together to spread light into the world. 

We have been increasingly inspired by the brands that are doing their part to exemplify leadership, love, creativity, integrity, and community during a time when many consumers are experiencing anxiety, risk, new schedules, lifestyle changes, and a need for social distance. These brands have found ways to meet their customers where they’re at, but they have also promoted a message around hope, positivity, and perseverance. 

To spread even more of that, we’ve gathered our favorite examples of brands being a light in their industry during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Old Fourth Distillery 

The world became nervous last month when powerhouse, Amazon, ran out of hand sanitizer. Old Fourth Distillery, once makers of spirits, set an example for how they could utilize their resources, machinery, and expertise to help our communities. Starting in March, the distillery (and now many others) shifted to produce hand sanitizer that’s equally as effective as popular brands like Purell. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced that existing distilleries could produce hand sanitizer without prior authorization. The recipe may slightly vary, but many are using two parts of alcohol and one part aloe and “filling a need in a national emergency,” as CBS News put it.

Old Fourth set another example by diversifying their products and giving the hand sanitizer away for free. With a lot of love in their hearts and willingness to serve, they project that they can give away over 1,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per day. 

Watch their covered story here.

Firefly Computers 

As many schools closed across the country in March, many families worried about how they’d provide technology for their children to continue their studies. FireFly Computers, an education technology company, donated 100 Chrome books to a metro school in Minnesota. That way, the school could properly stay connected to students forced to adapt to distance learning environments. 

What makes this even more powerful is the company’s #OutGiveCorona campaign encourages all able businesses to come together to help the community. 

What a perfect example of being a light in your industry. 

View their covered story here. 

Cyclebar East Cobb  

As more people are urged to stay home, small businesses, including gyms and studios, have been forced to close, leaving many people feeling cooped up and missing their exercise routines. 

Cyclebar East Cobb in Marietta, GA, recognized an opportunity to bring that exercise to people at home by renting out their stationary exercise bikes to customers. To make it even sweeter, they found a way to load up a truck with all 45 of their bikes and hand-deliver them to interested customers. Many of their loyal customers now have the means to exercise from their house and stay connected with the instructors via virtual classes hosted weekly. 

In their interview, they mention that this wasn’t only important to stay connected to their customers, but also to make sure that people have access to this form of therapy that many people need now more than ever. 

Watch their covered story here. 

Party and Print 

Businesses in the event planning and party supplies industries began feeling the effects of the social distancing restrictions before many others. This business in Little Chute, Wisconsin, decided to spread joy and cheer by filling 350 balloons to make decorations for their downtown streets. The project stretches five blocks with a colorful bouquet of balloons on every other utility pole.

Watch their covered story here

St. Joseph Elementary School 

While this one is not a traditional business, we couldn’t help but include it in our favorites due to the exemplary level of selflessness and servanthood shown. In Bardstown, KY, St. Joseph Elementary School delivered 39 iPads to nursing homes and hospitals so that patients and residents could speak to family members while abiding by the COVID-19 restrictions. They were compelled to do this after hearing a heartbreaking story about a dying man who requested his doctor’s phone to talk to his family.

Watch their covered story here. 

Leveraging Inspiration for Impact 

As a company, PHOS is striving to help spread inspiration, positivity, and sustainable strategies to keep our communities well served. As a result, we offer to help any local business update their website, or other digital platforms, with any information regarding COVID-19 at no cost. 

After reading some of these stories, we encourage you, too, to think creatively about how you could use your gifts, resources, and time to serve others during this time. What can your business do to give back? How can you diversify your product or services to adapt to the current climate? How will you stay engaged with your customers during times of isolation and distance?

A business’s messaging matters now more than ever. Offering help, not just products and services, will build community, not profit.  As one of our marketers, Chad Wolcott,  encouraged in a previous blog, these times call for compassionate creativity. 

Don’t overlook an opportunity to diversify, change, and adapt to meet the demands and needs of your customers. Be a light in your industry. 

Alexis Fillmer

With a strategic mind and a love for culture and leadership, Alexis spends each day working to get the most out of every idea and person on our team. As our Director of Operations, she’s responsible for creating organizational clarity, ensuring excellence in our services, and creating a culture in which our team members can flourish.

Outside of PHOS, you can find Alexis playing with her son at the park, starting a new house project (and maybe finishing it), at the nearest farmer’s market, trying a new recipe, or scoping out live music with her husband.