COVID-19, City Operations and Event Update

Saturday, Mar 14, 2020

As you know, the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) is a rising concern and has been declared a pandemic. This topic was discussed during the NC Main Street Conference this week as this unfortunate news broke. Downtown Salisbury, Inc. staff have spoken to other business owners and Main Street managers across the State and would like to share some of the strategies below that encourage healthy customers to shop in-store and on-line with their local small business owning friends and neighbors during this difficult period.

What You Need to Know About Coronavirus

  • This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and the City and Downtown Salisbury, Inc. will continue to monitor and provide updated information to as it becomes available.
  • While COVID-19 is a serious public health threat, the current immediate health risk to the general public in North Carolina is considered low at this time.
  • COVID-19 is most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands.

Business Owners: Tips for Increasing Sales

  • Continue promoting the value of supporting locally owned businesses.
  • Encourage customers to buy gift cards for use at a later date.
  • Add online gift card sales to your website.
  • Consider offering delivery services –
    • Restaurants, if people aren’t coming to you to eat, go to them (wait staff becomes delivery drivers)
  • Ask for public support and be transparent – for example, “In order for us to pay the bills, we need to make 100 sales of at least $5 today. Please be one of our 100!”
  • Encourage customers to buy gifts now – Christmas in March!
  • Build and use your email lists to promote an item of the day, specials, or any promotions you are offering.
  • Consider adding or diversifying your supply chain and/or alter your inventory as appropriate.
    • Depending on the business, it may make sense to increase orders now in preparation for supply chain issues, cancel orders in anticipation of reduced foot traffic, or to look at adding suppliers.
  • Facebook has built a Business Resource Hub, where you’ll find recommendations and resources to help you stay informed and connected to your customers,
  • Consider using social media to make sales (especially if you don’t have a website) –
    • Post to Facebook or Instagram, then send invoices via Paypal or Venmo and offer local pick up, delivery, or shipping (whatever works for your business).
  • Encourage customers who are not sick to visit your business or buy on-line thru social media and personal phone calls.
  • Be transparent: ie, “we are doing XYZ to ensure the safety of our staff and customers – if you are not sick we look forward to seeing you” —
    • Post on social media, maybe also a flyer on the front door/window.
  • Encourage customers to get take-out, catering/boxed lunches, or delivery if they don’t want to eat on-site.
  • Make sure to have supplies like hand sanitizer and wipes – consistent location/presentation (such as right at the front door) could help customers feel more comfortable.
  • Implement a marketing campaign: “canceled your trip or don’t want to travel? Make it a staycation and enjoy XYZ here in town!”
  • Ask people to write reviews of your small businesses online – Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.!

*Thank you to the NCMS directors and staff*