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Flowers Growing in Concrete

Flowers Growing in Concrete

Flowers Growing in Concrete

Like a flower growing in concrete, the American entrepreneurial spirit is adapting during these uncertain and unprecedented times.  It is inspiring to read about small businesses who are faced with financial hardship because of COVID-19 and have reconfigured their business model and are persevering.   I love their resiliency in the face of adversity!   These businesses have risen to the challenge of retooling their product offering, and are supporting the community in times of need.  There are so many out there, but I wanted to highlight just a few below.

“There is no business model required for doing the right thing.”

CEO James Sears, of Sears Seating, a Davenport, IA based supplier of seating for the agriculture, construction, industrial, and over-the-road truck markets said it best when he said “There is no business model required for doing the right thing.”   His company has stepped up to help local healthcare workers in their time of need by producing personal protective equipment (PPE).  The factory is focusing on N95 masks, mask covers, and isolation gowns.  Two local hospitals are very appreciative of Sears’ efforts.  “It is going to take all of us to effectively respond to this crisis, which is unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes,” says Doug Cropper, President and CEO, Genesis Health System. “We are extremely grateful to Sears Seating and its employees for helping us meet the challenges of this pandemic.”  Pat Shouse, President of Trinity Health Foundation adds: “Their work to help build PPE supplies for health care teams at Trinity and all regional providers exemplifies the high integrity and generous spirit of our great community.”

Many fitness studios have begun offering online classes that people can view from their own home, allowing them to work out while social distancing.  In fact, our own client, InSpira Dance Studio in NJ, is offering virtual classes.  Not only that, but CEO Kristine Smith has been reading books every day to her young dancers via Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/inspiraarts/).  She’s doing her part to keep her young dancers’ minds and bodies active while they shelter-in-place.  Per Kristine, “These kids are so happy to have an outlet-kids need to move!  They love dance and they need that physical and mental break from the anxiety they are experiencing”.

Koval Distillery in Chicago, like many distilleries across the country, has shifted their focus from spirits to the production of bulk hand sanitizer for the medical community, retirement homes, local organizations serving the hungry, and others on the front lines in the war against COVID-19. The goal is to keep these supplies free for those who need it most.  But because they have employees to pay, electricity expenses, and expenses for electricity and materials needed for their new venture, they have created a GoFundMe to help support their mission.  Their website says “We look forward to a day when we can once again focus on spritzers over sanitizers.”

“In times like this, people need to step up. It’s our duty. It’s our obligation.”

Tidelands Health in Conway, SC put out a call for volunteers to help sew new elastic bands on thousands of N95 respirators.  The masks were good, but the elastic had become brittle over time and needed to be replaced.  President and CEO Tara Grinna ofTara Grinna Swim and Resort Wear (a Conway, SC swimwear company), answered their plea in a big way. “We know elastics – that is our wheelhouse,” Grinna said. “In times like this, people need to step up. It’s our duty. It’s our obligation.”

Suay Sew Shop is a 30-employee boutique clothing manufacturer in Los Angeles.  CEO Lindsay Medoff was concerned about people sewing masks for local healthcare workers out of plain cotton.  She and two friends took it upon themselves to build a lab that could test particle filtration down to 0.3 microns and tested every fabric they could find, from coffee filters to industrial materials.  They found that by adding two blue shop towels and using a design that produces a tighter-fitting mask, they could make a mask that could block up to 95% of the particles they could test, while the cotton masks blocked 20% to 60% of the particles.  These are not meant to replace N95 masks, but are a good choice for those who want some protection when not in their own homes, and it’s helping Medoff pay her workers their full wages.

A Richmond, VA-based advertising agency named Familiar Creatures has created a website to guide locals to restaurants and breweries who are struggling.  The site encourages people to buy gift cards from these businesses to help keep them in business.   A nice benefit is that it also showcases the agency’s skills in advertising and marketing.   It’s a win-win!

Fillip and Jamie Hord own Horderly, a 30-person professional organizing company.  Because of social distancing, their billable hours have come to a screeching halt.  To survive, they had to make changes and have created a virtual organizing service.  Now that so many people are isolated at home, Fillip and Jamie may find themselves overwhelmed with the needs of those who want to get organized!

Even in times of pandemic, we are a country of powerful innovators who will push through with new ways of getting business done.  How does a flower find the nutrients needed to survive when it grows out of a crack in the concrete?  The same way these entrepreneurs have adapted in order to survive:  they simply find a way, and they work hard to make it happen.  I hope these examples of hope and perseverance inspire you as much as they inspire me!

Angie Noll