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Crisis is the mother of invention for area businesses

EAST LIVERPOOL — Most small businesses have had to learn to improvise in a 2020 America amidst the coronavirus crisis, and these ones within the city are no different.

Cab companies like Tri-State, which is owned by Amy Hissom of East Liverpool, are among the businesses, exploring new markets amidst the coronavirus quarantine.

With people opting to self-isolate and do less traveling, she is finding it difficult. While Daisy might not be needing driven in this quarantine to Walmart, she might need someone to run and pickup her groceries curbside. That is where she said Tri-State Cab could help.

She posted Saturday to Facebook, encouraging her community to use her company to minimize their public exposure. “The less people who are out and about, the less the virus will spread…. You can go online, shop and pay for your list (at Walmart.com). Then (after) Walmart puts it together for you, (we can) just drive in to pick it up, saving you from going into the store.”

Other errands like picking up prescriptions and take out orders are among the tasks that her cab drivers can do. There will be a fee associated with running errands in advance, and the drivers won’t do shopping and prepay orders for you. The cost is usually what one would pay for their local fare, which is determined by the mileage.

Hissom explained that some customers have called for drivers to fetch them grocery items, like beer and cigarettes, furnishing false addresses and leaving the driver holding the bill.

They are still doing some rides, like taking addicts to their rehabilitation center appointments; however, many other public gathering places and events have been closed. “I just want people to remember that we are here and available to help them,” she added.

Currently Tri-State Cab’s business office is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. One can pre-schedule a pickup or ride in off-hours if they call during regular business hours. For more information, call the cab office at 330-385-0200.

Retail shops also are finding foot traffic impacted by the coronavirus.

Although they share similar names, Tri-State Supplies is a wholesale store on Dresden Avenue in the city’s downtown, which carries home flooring, restaurant and janitorial supplies. While individuals could be grumbling on social media about individuals overbuying items like toilet tissue, businesses like Tri-State Supplies, which more often than not are more known for catering to businesses and restaurants, often can be forgotten as a place where one can purchase Personal Protective Equipment, such as vinyl and latex gloves; antibacterial hand soap and paper products.

Employees also will deliver your prepaid orders curbside for pickup to comply with social distancing restrictions. Contact the store at 330-386-4121 between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.

Also in downtown, the Turquoise Tables, a vintage store located on Fifth Street, also is getting innovative. Lisa Smith is all experimentation and decided to try something new this week, taking to Facebook for a live shopping event streamed on the social media app, allowing people to shop from the comfort of their own homes.

“Just because we cannot shop in person doesn’t mean we cannot shop together in safe distance,” Smith explained on the event page.

As of Saturday night, more than 890 people had viewed the video with more than 40 buyers.

Smith, who is a pastor with Grace City Church, explained that in that few hours, the shop that generates income for the church’s outreach efforts brought in as much as a typical second Friday evening shopping event. “We obviously can do better in our ‘normal’ week, but we are super happy and haven’t had a ‘normal week’ all winter,'” she added. “Spring, summer and fall are our prime shopping times.”

Pickups ran smoothly with Smith also doing a few curbside deliveries and porch dropoffs for individuals who prepaid and were concerned about going out.

She admitted that the Facebook live pilot was a little more complicated than she anticipated.

Smith said, “It was a little more detailed doing the sale than I expected with keeping up with orders as they came in, but we’d definitely do it again. We were able to handle great social distancing by a lot of prepayments and having items bagged with their names on it. So they came in found their name, grabbed the bag and left. We definitely will do it again – quarantine or not.”

“(The coronavirus crisis) has allowed us to be more creative in business,” she concluded, adding that all proceeds from the Wednesday sale benefited the Door Drop dinner program, which delivers 180 meals each Thursday to the area’s seniors and homebound residents.

To contact Turquoise Tables, which plans on doing the event again in the future, call 330-383-1009. Their normal hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

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