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Online sales help keep small businesses busy in downtown Oregon during the pandemic

Business was hard to come by at first during the pandemic, but now they’re in a groove
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 7:01 PM CDT
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OREGON, Wis. (WMTV) -Some small businesses in Oregon are experiencing a resurgence after a few months of uncertainty during the pandemic.

The Firefly Coffee House in downtown Oregon is a place where people come to get their fill and their caffeine fix. The business is affectionately known as “Oregon’s Living Room” because it’s a popular hangout spot for people to catch up over a cup of coffee.

“I would say since July, we have rebounded greatly. Our sales are more similar to 2019,” said owner Jeanne Carpenter.

Carpenter says they’re grinding out plenty of business now, but early in the pandemic, that wasn’t the case.

“During the month of March, I cried a lot,” admitted Carpenter. “In the first few months of the pandemic, it was really stressful for me. I thought we were going to lose our business. I thought my employees were going to lose their jobs,”

But Carpenter persevered. People still come into the shop to order, but most of her business is done online.

"60 to 65% of our business is now going out the back door through the ‘no-contact curbside pick-up’ side Carpenter.

And just down the street at The Chocolate Caper, it’s a similar story.

Employees at The Chocolate Caper have a pretty sweet job
Employees at The Chocolate Caper have a pretty sweet job(WTMV)

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were terrified that we were going to go out of business,” said owner Elizabeth Donoghue.

But online sales, once again, saved the day.

“We’ve always had a website. You could always order online, but to keep up with the volume, we really had to make a lot of changes,” said Donoghue.

Business usually dies down during the summer months for the Chocolate Caper. So when the pandemic happened in the spring, that put Donoghue on high alert.

“The greatest fear for us was the fact that this was all happening going into the slowest time of the year. The summer we always slow way down,” she said.

But they were able to adapt during the summer months and business was actually decent.

“This is actually the first year we didn’t see as huge as a drop in the summer because everyone was ordering online,” said Donoghue. “Everyone needs comfort and what’s better than some delicious chocolate as a comfort item?”

These two small businesses are bouncing back and are ready for anything the future holds.

“We are hanging in there and we are pretty happy,” said Carpenter. “We’re all in. We are not going anywhere,”

The Chocolate Caper even has plans to expand. They plan on opening a new dessert café they’re calling “The Kickback Café” sometime in the spring of 2021.

These confections have proven to be pretty popular with chocolate lovers
These confections have proven to be pretty popular with chocolate lovers(WTMV)

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