Maggie Rolf ~ Guest Writer
It has been one year since COVID-19 emerged, bringing challenges and even closure for many small businesses due to lack of customers. However, a few local Lynchburg businesses are standing strong.
CBS News stated, “nine million small firms are at risk of closing for good this year.” Outside the Cone and Mission House Coffee are local businesses in Lynchburg, Va., that have defeated the odds and remained strong during the pandemic.
Kyle Spangler, owner and manager of Outside the Cone an ice cream shop in Wyndhurst, said, “Definitely feel very blessed and lucky to be able to have a shop that is doing so well in a time like this.”
Spangler said sales have increased for them during the pandemic. “Even during the Great Depression, ice cream did fairly well. It is just the food that, I do not know, just makes people really happy and they go for it in a time of need.”
Both Outside the Cone and Mission House Coffee have shifted towards focusing on online and to-go orders that have been met with great success.
During the initial shutdown in spring of 2020, Moriah McAllister, general manager for Mission House Coffee, said her business had access to scarce materials and they were able to help those in need. “I think a lot of small businesses have seen the community just rally around and support and go out of their way just to pivot in whatever way needed to keep these places alive,” said McAllister.
McAllister also said she is very thankful for the support the community has given during the last year.
Customer’s health has been a top priority for these business owners. Spangler said they have been upping safety measures, like wearing gloves now while scooping ice cream to ensure extra cleanliness.
“It is not just about getting people in the door or just about increased coffee sales, do not get me wrong. All of that is great and necessary to stay open, but it is about something bigger than that,” said McAllister.