MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA)– The fight against the coronavirus has stretched many business owners thin. “We’re in survival mode right now,” said Callie McFarland with Monticello Mercantile. Governor Pritzker extended the state’s stay at home order, halting all non-essential business until May 30th. Over the past few weeks, businesses like Hartfield Book Company say sales haven’t just dropped a little bit, “They’ve gone down tremendously,” said Nicole Stewart, Owner and Manager of Hartfield Book Company.
Their online traffic has increased, but the manager says that’s only a fraction of monthly revenue. That’s down over 50 percent. “Certainly there would come a point where we would just run out of road and have to make a tough decision. It’s hard to say when that would be and I try not necessarily to think of that but to just keep thinking about ways we can try to make the most of what’s available to us,” said Stewart. There are changes to the current restrictions including allowing some retail stores to reopen for telephone and online orders through pick up outside the store and delivery. “Now it’s wonderful that we can actually arrange for porch pick ups,” said Mcfarland. “Things like that could help a little bit,” said Stewart.
When doors are closed and you aren’t able to come inside to support, businesses say the best thing you can do is support online. “The online orders that we are getting are from new customers so that’s a bright spot,” said Jeff Zumwalt Owner of Bespoke Gift Company. “People started ordering on the phone, reaching out through Facebook, reaching out through the website and then we started shipping orders,” said Zumwalt. Despite the challenges, businesses say the community is stepping in to help and workers are doing whatever it takes to pull through. “Businesses are resilent, and they’re hard core and they will do what they can to make it work,” said Mcfarland.