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Tulsa Small Businesses Innovate Ways To Stimulate Business Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted: 7:20 AM, Mar 19, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-19 08:40:59-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa economy is preparing to take a hit as small businesses begin to see a decline in sales because of the ongoing coronavirus.

The virus is not only impacting revenue, but also employees of local shops who rely on a paycheck to provide for themselves and their families.

However, as the Oklahoma standard would have it, shops are finding innovative ways to stimulate business while also keeping shoppers safe.

As the world seemingly becomes quiet with event cancellations and work-from-home mandates, there's a picture some are not seeing.

"My first thought was just panic,” Jana Doyle, owner of Kiddlestix, said.

It’s a similar situation across the city, local small businesses with stocked showroom floors, but the only thing missing is the people.

"We've definitely noticed a drop in sales, and a drop in people coming in and seeing our shop,” Maddie Schmidt, manager at Adorn said.

As foot traffic decreases amid coronavirus concerns, business owners are coming up with a plan.

"Well, we're doing this,” Doyle said. “This is inevitable and so we just have to find ways to adapt."

For shops like Adorn, Kiddlestix and Lolly Garden, they're banding together to spread the word that shopping local doesn't have to be in person.

"We do a lot of Instagram and Facebook, photos and shopping,” Schmidt said. ‘We'll do FaceTime shopping and videos with people."

Stores are offering their services any way they can by customizing each shoppers experience and providing personal deliveries.

"We've already been offering curbside delivery,” Charla Murrah, owner of Lolly Garden said.

These shops depend on purchases, and loss of revenue affects more than just the owner.

"We kind of work month to month, Doyle said. “Without sales we can’t do payroll, and we can’t pay our bills, and so it's really important to have those sales."

To interest buyers, shops like Kiddlestix are catering to the current crisis by putting together quarantine survival kits for children full of books and puzzles.

Others, such as Adorn, are offering Easter decor to brighten your home, while Lolly Garden offers clothing and trinkets for children for any occasion.

"This is the most important life blood to our community,” Murrah said.

It’s all an effort to stimulate business, which supports the economy.

Each business said the plan to serve the community stands even if they are forced to close their doors. They'll still offer online business and personal deliveries.

The owners also said they are considering applying for low-interest federal disaster loans through the Small Business Administration, should it come to that.

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