Local businesses adapt to new COVID-19 situation



Businesses learn how to evolve in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. https://unsplash.com/license

Ella Lukowiak

From local strip malls to New York City’s Fifth Avenue, storefronts everywhere have closed their doors to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

While the ominous “out-of-business” fear looms over every store owner, many local businesses have begun to find new ways to adapt to the situation and keep their stores afloat.

Kathy Manning, the owner of Katherine’s Boutique in Manasquan, explained that last year she set up an online website for her store, which has certainly come in handy during this time.

“It was something that we had been wanting to do and finally last year we did it, and so thankfully because that has been helping us tread water,” Manning said.

Manning also explained that social media marketing has been vital for her in the midst of the pandemic. 

“Just with our iPhones and having pictures and movies and being able to get that and post it to Instagram is just huge because everyone has a phone,” Manning said.

While no official announcements have been made, Manning foresees opening her doors in the near future. In fact, she has already begun to think of how that may play out.

“I’m hoping, fingers crossed, maybe June, maybe July,” she said. “I think we’ll only allow like three customers in the store at a time and just really regulate the amount of people coming in and wearing masks.” 

For Karolak Facial Plastic Surgeon owner Alli Karolak of Brielle, the light at the end of the tunnel approached on May 15 when Governor Murphy announced that elective surgeries would be reopening the following week. 

Karolak explained that there will be strict procedures and guidelines when reopening and nothing will come all at once.

“We are going to have as many employees work from home as possible…we definitely will be reducing capacity,” Karolak said.“We will only have one surgery per day, and there will not be any injectables like Botox or fillers to reduce the volume of patients.” 

She also explained that they will restrict patients from having companions in the office and will extend hours to space out the patients and make-up canceled surgeries.

While surgeries have not been able to physically take place these past few months, Dr. Mark Karolak has found other ways to operate from home through virtual consultations.

“Patients who were interested in surgery, Dr. [Mark] Karolak would do a virtual consultation for them over video conferencing,” Alli Karolak said.

Karolak is not the only one using the power of the internet for virtual sessions. Wall Township’s The Music Place co-owner Alyssa King said that their teachers have turned to virtual music lessons to accommodate for the lack of in-person lessons.

“Luckily, our teachers and students have been able to transfer to online lessons… our teachers keep finding new and innovative ways to teach their students,” King said.

However, as The Music Place is also a retail business aside from providing instruction, they have been unable to sell products until recently.

“We have not been able to make any transactions until this week [of May 17] when the governor gave the okay for nonessential businesses to have curbside service,” King said.

She went on to explain that they have only been doing curbside service by appointment, and are making the health, safety, and morale of their employees and students the main focus.

“COVID or not, staying positive and learning how to make progress, and recognizing the progress made every single day, helps us all to continue to thrive and grow,” King said. “It’s been a good life lesson for all of us.”