How businesses can get more customers during the coronavirus scare

BAY RIDGE — While the U.S. added 165,000 jobs in February, within one month the economy has taken a direct hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. There have not been any major layoffs reported as of yet, but the fear is that they are inevitable as restaurants, hotels and travel and tourism businesses lose more customers by the day.

One small business in Bay Ridge may attract new customers through an act of goodwill within the community. Cocoa Grinder, a coffee shop chain that has five locations in the borough, announced on Friday that it would open its outdoor rooftop to students so they can have a place to work while their schools are closed, weather permitting.

“Feel free to come in and take your online classes in any one of our locations without feeling the pressure to purchase food/drinks,” read a statement from Cocoa Grinder CEO Abdul Elenani.

“We are working on getting public use printers in our Midwood and Bay Ridge locations to make it easy as possible to print and minimize your travel time. We wish for everyone to stay as safe and healthy as possible during this time,” Elenani added.


Small businesses offered $2 million

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that it would offer assistance to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus offering up to $2 million in assistance for a small business.

“The President took bold, decisive action to make our 30 million small businesses more resilient to Coronavirus-related economic disruptions,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza in a statement released on Thursday, March 12.

“Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation,” Carranza added.

Chamber of Commerce toolkit

Furthermore, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put together a toolkit to help businesses survive during the coronavirus disruptions. It highlights guidelines for how small business owners can keep their customers and employees safe. There have also been email blasts detailing how local shops can maintain a healthy environment by cleaning stores every hour.

Following Mayor de Blasio’s executive order to limit all bars and restaurants to food take-out and delivery as of Tuesday, March 17 at 9 a.m., some establishments are already receiving more requests for take out meals and are adding more delivery options.

And with the mad rush for paper goods and cleaning products, warehouse clubs as well as supermarkets are actively searching for additional help with stocking and deliveries. Foodtown supermarket in Bay Ridge has taken to social media posting job opportunities, simply stating, “Foodtown is hiring – clerks – cashiers – all positions. We look forward to you joining our team!”

EBrooklyn Media / Photo by John Alexander
Cocoa Grinder manager Aleena Naveed shows off rooftop deck.

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