3rd Resiliency Forum will turn to local experts for advice


By Patsy Nicosia

SEEC will focus on COVID “pivots”—with advice on everything from meat to marketing--when it hosts its third Business Recovery Roundtable later this month.
The Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Generators Group is co-sponsor of the 9am, Tuesday February 23 Zoom forum; register on the Chamber’s website. SchoharieChamber.com.
Past Roundtables have focused on COVID regulations and the Paycheck Protection Program.
This round will feature Carrie Edsall of Black Willow Farm, Josh Loden of the Apple Barrel, Chris Guldner of the Bull’s Head Inn, and Jacqui Hauser of The Studio for Art & Craft.
Mr. Loden and his sister, Jessica Kirby, have made their shop the online place to be with conversation, humor, and their “Hot Date with Josh” videos kicked off last May.
He’ll share re-merchandising tips and how to keep regulars shopping online and in-person at the Roundtable.
“Josh and Jess certainly know how to play to their strengths,” said Julie Pacatte, SEEC’s executive director.
“They took advantage of the situation to transform their retail space and really adapt and raise the bar. And they’ve made it a lot of fun.”
Black Willow Pond Farm had an e-commerce site for their meat even before COVID, Ms. Pacatte said; now she’s taken that to Shopify—and she’s watched her sales skyrocket.
“Carrie is such a dynamo…she has her hand in everything,” Ms. Pacatte said.
“Shopify is a true-blue e-commere platform. She’ll talk about how and why she got there and how to re-tool and reset when the demand drops off. That’s always a challenge.”
Restaurants have been hit especially hard by COVID.
Not only did Mr. Guldner and his wife and partner, Mary Sagendorf, take advantage of the “down time” to add an outside stairway as a way to boost their indoor space, but they’ve launched one of the more successful take-out businesses.
“They’re still riding that wave,” Ms. Pacatte said.
Finally, Ms. Hauser has gone online to build a community for her arts and crafts store, selling not just supplies, but packages and experiences.
“It’s not just about selling art supplies like markers,” Ms. Pacatte said. “Jacqui’s really been bringing people together in an online community even while she’s been creative about holding events in her shop. She’s done a great pivot.”
The Roundtable is expected to run about an hour and there will be a chance for participants to ask questions.
“What’s really wonderful about this is that these are our business people,” Ms. Pacatte said. “They’re great resources.
“2020 was a tough year. We dealt with rules and regulations…it’s been depressing for sure. But now it’s time to get inspired.”