Local businesses get creative to reach people online during shutdown

SPOKANE, Wash.– Many local businesses are getting creative to reach customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 4 News Now interviewed three different businesses, each with different backgrounds and tech experience.

INDABA COFFEE COMPANY

People can still pick up a cup of coffee from Indaba Coffee company, they just have to get it to go. Customers can order online or through the mobile app Joe.

Transitioning from a model that focused on in-person connections to something more distant was a challenge, according to Indaba owner and CEO Bobby Enslow.

“Our mantra is love people love coffee,” Enslow said. “So, how can we lean into love and not fear and how can we love on people remotely.”

A few answers to those questions came in the form of online expansion. People could buy coffee from Indaba online before the pandemic, but now the online store has even more offerings.

Enslow said they’ve even partnered with Boots Bakery and West Plains Roasters to sell some of their products through the Indaba sight.

The company’s coffee subscription service membership has nearly doubled in just a matter of weeks, too. So many people are excited at the prospect of locally roasted coffee that can be delivered to their doorstep.

The website also includes a virtual tip jar so people can directly support their favorite baristas.

While it’s not an ideal situation, Enslow and his team are getting creative while they look ahead to the future.

“Right now is just another season of having to come together as a species and as a humanity and just care for each other and get through this storm together,” Enslow said.

CASHMERE BOUTIQUE SPA

Coping with COVID-19 has been especially tough for local spas and salons. Cashmere Boutique Spa, in the Flour Mill, relied on in-person appointments. Clients also picked up products at the shop, too.

There was no big need for online sales, until now, according to co-owners Ruth Rabel and Emily Clark.

“We became web designers overnight and created an online store,” Clark said.

The two sisters said they opened the spa to help care for and empower men and women. They offer hair services, waxing, spray tans, eye lash extensions, sugaring, and body treatments. All of that was put on hold last month when Governor Jay Inslee ordered non-essential stores to close down for the public’s safety.

So, these two sisters got creative. Now, clients can shop for their products online and get it shipped to their door. They’re also offering an option to pick up items at the store.

Overall, both Clark and Rabel agree that the toughest part of this shutdown is not getting to see their clients.

“We miss our clients, but we are trying to stay connected to our clients,” Rabel said.

And those clients can stay connected to the shop through social media. Clark said a free way to support a small business, like hers, is to leave an online review or post about it on social media.

BOULEVARD MERCANTILE

Just days after a grand reopening celebration at a new location, Boulevard Mercantile had to temporarily close its doors. Now, the vintage shop is turning to social media to cash in on some sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Co-owner Joellen Jeffers said it’s been a big adjustment considering one of the best parts of vintage shopping is how interactive it usually is. She is trying to bring a similar experience to social media as she posts regular Instagram stories with items for sale.

“Just trying to come up with ways to stay relevant in the world right now is a challenge,” Jeffers said.

Still, she and the other store owners are determined to find a way. They’re building an online store, along with sharing their merchandise on social media. People can pay online and get the item delivered. There’s also an option to pick up items at the store on North Washington Street. Jeffers said she’s even been doing some virtual shopping for people.

“You know, people still have needs and so we are just going to be here functioning in this way as long as we can,” Jeffers said.

RELATED:

Resources geared to help businesses and employees get back on their feet

Finding the Helpers: Indaba Coffee employee reads books to kids on Instagram Live

Finding the Helpers: Little Garden Cafe thanks first responders and healthcare workers with cinnamon rolls