Days from opening their dream business the coronavirus hit
Blue Scoop Creamery was a longtime dream come true for Avery WePrint customer Kim Rhodes. Her earliest childhood memories included ice cream. Whether it was a car ride for a scoop at Erhler’s Dairy in their hometown of Louisville, KY, gathering on the back porch of her Nannie’s house taking turns sitting on the ice cream maker while it churned her grandma’s favorite pineapple blend, or as a young adult pulling up to the drive-through at Graeter’s Ice Cream after a bad breakup and in need of some Black Raspberry Chip therapy, ice cream was a big part of growing up for Kim.
Now, after planning for more than a year, Kim and her husband were less than a month away from the grand opening of their handcrafted ice cream store when the coronavirus stay-at-home orders were issued and small businesses were thrown into chaos.
Since they were a food product and allowed to serve to-go items, the couple decided to go ahead with their plans to open their new venture in the Yorba Linda community of Southern California. But they knew they had to act quickly and change up their original plans.
There were many issues facing Blue Scoop Creamery when they decided to move ahead with their planned grand opening. They knew they had many things to figure out. Not only did they have to consider the safety of their employees but they had to take into account how the community would respond to a new business opening during this time.
The couple also had to tackle one of the primary tenents of their store, which was creating a fun space where family, friends, and neighbors could come together and celebrate, an idea that flew straight in the face of COVID 19.
Changing the business model
The original concept for Blue Scoop Creamery was for traditional premium hand-scooped ice cream served in cups, cones, sundaes, shakes, floats, and more. But the coronavirus threw a wrench in those plans so the couple had to quickly pivot.
Instead of cups and cones, they started to prepackage their ice cream in pint containers for customers to take home. They created an online ordering system for easy pickup and social distancing. They also delayed formal team training of employees, as it required too many people in close proximity to each other.
Since the parties couldn’t come to them, they created sundae kits for families to take home for their celebrations. The kits included 2 pints of ice cream, homemade hot fudge, cherries, sprinkles, fresh waffle chips, and a reward token to come back later for a free scoop of ice cream.
What they’ve learned
“Prepare to be flexible,” Kim said. “Things you’ve planned for and counted on may not be there.”
For example, the pandemic has created all kinds of disruption in the supply chain. One of the primary products Blue Scoop needs is dairy. And while the cows are still making milk the distribution network between the cows and store was compromised. Fewer drivers and delivery times were available due to layoffs and furloughs. So having a backup or alternative plan is key.
The business also took advantage of social media and harnessed its power. With everyone stuck at home, people are glued to their phones and social media accounts.
“People are looking for distractions, for a sense of something normal to entertain them,” Kim said. “Tell your story, why you’re different, why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
This is a unique time where Kim says businesses can be a bit more personally transparent with people. Everyone is looking to connect with other people but not necessarily businesses, so find a way to engage with them.
Check out tips and ideas from the Avery social media team to help you market your business on social media. Need some more ideas for reopening during the pandemic? read Things your small business can do during the coronavirus for more tips and ideas.
Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on doing business during a shutdown? Let us know in the comments below.