Opening and operating small businesses could change, post-pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As some small businesses are hit hard by the coronavirus, others are learning new ways to make their businesses work. Getting Wanderlust Vegan Eatery up and running was five years in the making, starting with farmers’ markets and moving into their own space this past year.

“I’ve been doing this now for five years. I started right after I got out of culinary school,” said Stephanie Herrera, one of the owners of Wanderlust Vegan Eatery. “It takes a lot of time. I feel like you should start off smaller and then try to gain more like a bigger aspect of your business rather than just going, diving in first, and then having everything just lose a lot more money in the long run.”

Once the coronavirus hit, they had to change everything. Since they share a building with the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company, they’ve had to balance out when they’re open, from reducing hours to learning how to do orders online.

“We’re about down to 50% and we’re still there,” said Herrera. “We’re doing okay as far as financially able to get by, but it’s rough.”

The City of Albuquerque’s Small Business Office helps provide resources to local businesses all across the metro. They say this new learning and changing is happening across the board.

“That essentially had many of our businesses, small businesses, close or have to change the way they operate,” said Jennifer Esquivel with the CABQ Small Business Office. “They had to lay people off, change hours or close their doors altogether for a period of time.”

For many entrepreneurs, they’re forced to rethink how they can operate once reopened. For others, it even changes how to start a new business in the future that’s “pandemic proof.”

“Many businesses have had to figure out how they can hand a coffee cup out of a window or a back door,” said Esquivel. “I really think this is the time for everybody, whether you’re a big business, a small business, a nonprofit, a government, it’s time to put your business plan and your operations plan on the table and say, how can we adjust this and what can we do to make changes.”

It can be transitioning your business to use social media and online ordering. Others may need to rethink their business concept, specializing in things like cleaning or making masks.

“It’s imperative that we don’t just do things in the short-term, but figure out how we can implement what we’ve learned for the long term because this could happen again,” said Esquivel. “Albuquerque is an inventive city, we have great thinkers amongst our community members and so I have no doubt that we’ll be able to pivot and adjust.”

Meanwhile, Wanderlust says they’ll keep making changes to serve the community for the long term. “The online orders helps a ton, getting people to see that and preorder. I’m huge on no waste so it helps that way, making sure we have the exact amount,” said Herrera. “This day and age, we’re in a whole different aspect of like this, being on the social media and doing everything internet-based, so it’s important to go with it.”

The CABQ Small Business Office has put together a list of resources online. They include helpful tips like applying for loans and taking your business digital.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resources

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