While many companies are hurting during the coronavirus pandemic, some small businesses are seeing lots of new and returning customers.
With the U.S. business landscape radically changed in the past few weeks due to coronavirus, the majority of stories people are hearing concern businesses closing or laying off workers. However, some small businesses are uniquely suited to the COVID-19 crisis and have seen an uptick in demand.
With all kinds of businesses creatively learning to adapt to coronavirus, it should come as no surprise that some traditional businesses have seen success in this new landscape as well. Businesses that help people “social distance” themselves from others and retailers that help people stock up for eating and drinking at home are primary examples.
Here's a list of small business types that are seeing business boom during the coronavirus pandemic.Cleaning services
With the spread of coronavirus fears around the country, it should come as no surprise that professional cleaning services that sanitize offices, restaurants and homes are in high demand. Cleaning companies, such as Columbus, Ohio-based Corporate Cleaning Inc., said demand has increased substantially for commercial buildings and medical facilities in light of COVID-19.Delivery services
With many consumers afraid to leave their homes or being advised by state governments to shelter in place during the coronavirus crisis, professional delivery services have stepped up to make sure goods can be delivered to homes and businesses. While nationwide food delivery services and corporate retail deliveries have been the largest beneficiary, local delivery services such as GrubSouth in Huntsville, Alabama are also seeing strong demand.Drive-in movie theaters
One of the most peculiar small business categories that have recently seen success in the coronavirus era is drive-in movie theaters. With standard movie theaters seen as less safe (most are now closed) because they encourage hundreds of people to gather in small spaces, drive-in theaters allow people to take in a show from their own car and provide a way for families to get out of the house.Grocery stores
With the general public practicing “social distancing” and many U.S. states closing restaurant dining rooms, more families are stocking up on goods and eating at home. This has led to large and small grocers alike to see surges in customer demand.The CEO of Stew Leonard's, a grocery chain with seven supermarkets in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, told Fox News recently that its goods had been flying off the shelves. Some of the store’s top sellers have been toilet paper, hand sanitizer, pizza and chicken.Liquor and wine stores
With many bars closed around the United States due to COVID-19, local liquor and wine stores have dramatically increased sales. JD Phelps, store manager at New York City’s Vintage Grape Wines & Spirits, told Bloomberg that it’s been difficult to keep up with demand in the past few weeks with people wanting to stock up at home.Meal prep delivery services
Many of the top brands for meal preparation and delivery are skyrocketing due to people spending more time at home and less at restaurants. Taking advantage of this trend, several small businesses that offer meal prep and delivery are also seeing increased demand.Canned and jarred goods companies
With many people wanting to stock up on canned and jarred food, small businesses that manufacture these goods are seeing more business. Charlotte, North Carolina’s Cannizzaro Sauces, for example, has seen a lot of new sales for its fresh tomato sauce.Game makers and sellers
With the novel coronavirus forcing many people to stay at home instead of going out, small businesses that create board games and puzzles are popular since they help entertain families. Additionally, small video game makers that work on creative titles for children are seeing an uptick in demand with many kids unable to attend school.Fitness equipment companies
With many gyms closed across the U.S., Americans have turned to home gyms in order to help them stay fit during the coronavirus crisis. While yoga mat purchases are likely the number one purchase for many working out at home, other fitness products are seeing success.
Landscaping and yard care companies
As more people than ever are stuck at home due to coronavirus fears, homeowners have much more time to tend to their lawns and gardens. As such, landscaping and general yard care companies are seeing unseasonably good business.Bread-baking companies
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed more people to spend time at home cooking and baking, making all sorts of new recipes. One part of this new trend is specifically baking bread, which is helping Americans alleviate stress and tap into their creativity. In turn, companies that enable the baking of bread have seen their demand sharply increase, including makers of flour and yeast.Coffee subscription companies
With many consumers unable to buy coffee in person because shops are closed or they are hesitant to leave their homes, coffee companies that offer home delivery are seeing increased demand. These providers include those who ship freshly roasted beans, pre-packaged cold brew and other variations.In particular, coffee subscription companies that deliver new beans weekly or monthly are getting a lot more attention from consumers. Companies including Mistobox, Trade Coffee and Yes Plz Coffee are beneficiaries in the social distancing world. Additionally, some coffee shops that have been closed storefronts have been able to generate new revenue streams by delivering beans, including many shops in coffee-dependent New York City.Gardening suppliers
With so many people at home and the weather beginning to get warmer around the U.S., home gardening has gained new popularity. People are growing their own fruits, vegetables and plants because it can be a little scary to go to the grocery store, supply is constrained at stores, and there’s simply more time to try your hand at being a green thumb. Naturally, gardening companies including seed providers are booming.
While mask-making wasn’t exactly in high demand at the beginning of 2020, just a few months later it has become a popular choice for new entrepreneurs. Americans all over the country want to obtain high-quality (and in some cases creative) masks to protect themselves and those around them.
In the era of COVID-19, many people don’t want to leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary, and they especially don’t want to go to medical offices where they could be exposed to the novel coronavirus. Thus, telehealth companies that allow patients to see doctors or therapists via their computers or phones have become more popular, increasing an estimated 50% nationwide.
Boston-based telemedicine technology company Amwell, for example, said it has recently seen more than five times the volume it experiences during peak flu season. “In the past seven days we were 624% higher than our expected volume for this week,” Mike Baird, President of Customers Solutions at Amwell, told the Orlando Sentinel. “We have seen multiple large health systems come to us and say, "I want to enroll 2,000 or 1,000 providers [quickly].”
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