Coronavirus: Illinois small businesses pivot in order to stay open

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many businesses, especially smaller ones to re-invent themselves in-order to save alive.

The business and clientele that took years seemed to disappear in days.

"It was like a slow less foot traffic less foot traffic and bottomed out," said Shayna Norwood of Steel Petal Press.

Now, the owner of Steel Petal Press is learning to pivot. With Shayna Norwood's shop in Logan Square closed and wholesale greeting card business running dry, Norwood took a cue from clients and is now fully online, plus creating care packages for those stuck at home.

"I had requests for it, like just one or two, but I was like oh, this is great, we have all these things here," Norwood said. "We can help other people ship things to their friends."

With over one million small business in Illinois, some are finding that getting back to basics with a little creativity is essential to staying in business.

"They are having to pivot their marketing, their messaging," said Katie Hunt, businesses strategist with Proof to Product. "I'm telling them to think about other revenue streams they can participate in, selling direct to consumer online and changing their messaging there."

Hunt is helping Norwood and other small business owners across the country get realistic with their finances and prioritize on meeting their customers needs in this climate.

"People are going to remember who the helpers were when all this is over," Hunt said. "They are going to remember who went out of their way to get them the toilet paper they needed or get them the food they needed or get them a card they needed to connect with a loved one that was far away."

For Norwood, who began making greeting cards, she hasn't taken a paycheck, reduced staff and is trying to meet customers where they are.

"One of core values is laughter and beauty and bringing joy to the world," Norwood said. "We want to continue to bring joy the world in any way we can

Norwood hopes to be among those business that survives and thrives past this pandemic.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.