“Round mid-March, our workers got here to us and stated we won’t do that anymore. So we instantly shut down the general public a part of our market,” stated Patrick Crowl, proprietor of the Woodstock Farmers’ Market, a specialty retail retailer situated in Woodstock, Vermont, throughout the newest installment of SFA’s Working with Consumers webinar sequence. Crowl and Amelia Rappaport, lead purchaser for the market, shared how the retailer pivoted to a curbside pickup-only mannequin to guard the well being of its workers and the way its relationships with clients, distributors, and suppliers have helped it succeed throughout this difficult time.

Pivoting the Enterprise

After Woodstock Farmers’ Market determined to shut the general public a part of its market, the retailer wanted to give you one other method to preserve promoting its merchandise. “We got here up with a curbside pickup program in three days. It was loopy at first,” stated Crowl. The primary iteration of this program revolved round a name heart staffed by two to a few workers who took buyer orders. This course of was very labor intensive, in keeping with Rappaport. “We’d be writing bank card numbers down by hand, processing them, after which ripping them up,” she stated. To simplify the method, Woodstock Farmers’ Market labored with long-time associate ECRS, a point-of-sale software program firm, to develop an online cart on the shop web site, which permits clients to do all of their transactions on-line.

Prioritizing Communication

In early April, a Woodstock Farmers’ Market worker examined constructive for COVID-19. When attempting to determine what to do, Crowl stated, “We went again to our ethics. We needed to do the fitting factor.” The shop was closed for 10 days and quite a lot of messaging went out to clients. “We had been trustworthy; we felt we owed it to our neighborhood.” Although some clients had been scared by this, the choice in the end helped to strengthen the belief between the neighborhood and the retailer.

Taking Inventory

Because the retailer has needed to cut back the variety of merchandise it carries, it’s been a superb time for the shop to guage which suppliers it values and desires to proceed a relationship with. “We wish to assist the folks we’ve had the very best relationships with,” stated Rappaport. “And in flip, they assist us.” Woodstock Farmers’ Market has additionally discovered that distributors who’re clear and versatile have gotten increasingly worthwhile to the shop.  

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