|Local delivery services aim to maintian connections|
|COVID pandemic changes business|
|Published Wednesday, August 5, 2020 2:15 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Samuel Hanna, owner of TakeNow Delivery, prepares to make a delivery to a customer last week in Charlotte.|
Charlotte is in Phase 2 of the Safer at Home order put in place by Gov. Roy Cooper to curb the spread of COVID-19. The city will remain in this phase until at least Aug 7, which means many businesses will remain closed, and those that are open face limited capacities. Since going out to local restaurants and other businesses is less of an option during the pandemic, more people are relying on delivery services.
Samuel Hanna, owner of TakeNow Delivery, has seen an increase in residential orders since COVID-19 hit. His company, which delivers food for local restaurants, has been around since 2011. Back then, Hanna said, was a new and burgeoning convenience. Now, it’s a necessity.
“Delivery is here now. It’s critical,” he said.
Although Hanna has lost some corporate accounts because more employees are working from home, he wants to offer a safe way for office workers to get the food they love. He’s working on a program to bring food to businesses in a way that minimizes the need for employees to leave the office.
Hanna, who has a background in public health, has also put safety measures in place to stay compliant with the Safer at Home order. Face masks, disinfectant, contactless delivery and even cashless payments are now the norm.
Hanna said there’s always a certain level of risk, but his drivers feel relatively safe.
“I don’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing,” he said.
Saichelle McNeill, owner of The WashRoom Laundry Service, has also taken extra steps to ensure the safety of her employees and clients. There are gloves in every vehicle and hand sanitizer on the counters.
“We kept hand sanitizer on our counters and in our work areas, and…one bottle would last quite a while,” she said, referring to before the pandemic. “It’s gotten to a point where…our bottles of hand sanitizer are just going so fast.”
McNeill’s drivers and operators wear masks and vinyl aprons throughout the day. They also spray down their vehicles with a commercial solution between appointments and at the end of the day.
“We were conscious before,” she said, “but now we’re uber-conscious.”
McNeill had to close her physical location and convert customers to mobile services. But what she lost on the drycleaning side of the business she made up with laundering side. She’s picked up more commercial clients, including a contract from Mecklenburg County, which turned to laundering services to keep its places of business sanitary.
“People who wouldn’t traditionally use a laundry service for their business or their home, now they’re looking at us,” she said.
“We had to think, ‘Well, what can we do to get popcorn out to the public?’” she said. Curbside and in-house delivery services were the answer.
After closing for two weeks during Phase 1 of the Safer at Home order, It’s Poppin! Gourmet Kettle Corn reopened with reduced hours – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. The shop normally operates inside 7th Street Public Market, but Doyle recently moved her operation to a stand outside the market. She also now delivers more than 60 flavors within a 10-mile radius of Uptown.
Doyle has seen online orders surge in recent weeks.
“When I’m looking at the orders I had at this time last year, it’s almost doubled,” she said. “That has definitely made up the difference for the lack of revenue that’s coming from my shop in the [7th Street Public] Market.”
Doyle said she has the increased interest in Black- and minority-owned businesses that stemmed from the recent Black Lives Matter protests to thank for her boost in online orders.
Doyle keeps on a mask and gloves while she delivers, and she also offers contact-less delivery. At the curbside stand, Doyle wipes down tables and equipment after every customer and encourages social distancing.
“We feel pretty safe, and I think the customers do, too,” she said.
While he does his part to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Samuel Hanna said he hopes the general public will take the recommended safety precautions to heart, especially handwashing.
“We all want to get back to normal life as quick as possible.”
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