We are running out of clichés to say, “Everything
is different now.” There aren’t enough words in the dictionary or synonyms in
the thesaurus to convey that we are living through “unprecedented times.” But
when words fall flat, actions do not.
Over and over and over again, we have been awed by the ingenuity of the businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities and darn tenacious individuals. In fact, here at the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, we’ve created an entire video series devoted to business innovation during these trying times. We have shared the stories of mom and pop eateries in Montana with no staff left but mom and pop. So, mom and pop cinch their apron strings and get to work, creating tasty, farm fresh food to go. Mom and pop say they keep working to afford their rent, so that when this pandemic is over, they will have a building to welcome their staff back to.
A Montana artist, with a main street storefront in
a tiny town, decided to offer virtual painting classes. Sip n’ Paint from the
comfort (and safety) of your own home. That local artist also started offering
virtual art classes for kids, to keep them busy at home. She even delivers the
necessary supplies to her customers’ doorstep, so they don’t have to venture
out and shop.
A BBB Accredited Washington upholstery
manufacturer pressed pause on revenue-generating projects to begin creating
masks for healthcare workers. Whiskey makers in Hawaii moved from distilling
spirits to lifting them, by producing hand sanitizer. The distillery owners,
former marines, said making hand sanitizer to give first responders, free of
charge, is just the right thing to do.
How about the Alaska tour company that suspended
tours to stop the spread of coronavirus and started meal delivery to homebound
seniors? Though they won’t make a cent for their deliveries, company personnel
say they’re happy to be useful to the community where they live and work.
Universities that cancelled spring graduation
ceremonies are mailing “commencement in a box” packages to graduates to help
them turn their own tassel and drop their own balloons. Hairdressers with
shuttered salons are delivering home color kits to clients and including a
little something extra, like a bottle of champagne or handwritten note.
The pivots (another buzzy, but apt word) being
made by manufacturing companies to churn out ventilators instead of vacuums, sanitizers
instead of skin creams, face shields instead of Ford Fiestas all point to a
manufacturing sector stepping up to battle a common enemy. This shift is
reminiscent of wartime production – something we haven’t seen in full force
since World War II.
While we call these the “trying times,” and
“unprecedented times,” they are also the telling times. These are the times
when companies show their grit and character. These are the times when ordinary
people take extraordinary risks by simply showing up to work. These are the
times we look at grocery store clerks, nursing home staff, delivery drivers,
and others as the frontline help they have become. These people and these
stories are reminders that the most innovative thing we may do during this
crisis is caring for one another well.
We are here to help care for your business. Please let us know how we can help. Free resources and tips are available at trust-bbb.org/coronavirus.