In this series, we learn from small businesses across the country how they are adapting in the world of COVID-19.
Cheryl Cellucci and her husband, Jim have owned Great Harvest Bread Co. in Newtonville, MA for close to 20 years. A neighborhood bakery that features bread made by hand daily, they grind their own flour right on site and their whole wheat bread features only 5 simple ingredients. They also make sandwiches, muffins, scones and cookies.
What was the first thing you did when you realized this situation was about to affect your business or daily life?
When we first realized how COVID-19 would affect us, I knew we had to offer delivery and curbside pickup. The best way to facilitate was through online ordering. The online ordering has been so well received by our customers and staff. It limits the number of customers we have direct contact with, keeping our employees safe while ensuring the safety and comfort of our customers. We also needed a way to ensure we had enough business to keep our full time staff employed.
What are you doing now that you weren't doing two, three, four weeks ago?
One day while online, I saw another bakery baking for food pantry through customer donations and increasing the donation, and I knew that was a perfect solution. By the time I got to the bakery to tell my husband the plan, one of our regular customers had already purchased loaves for food pantry. So far customers have purchased 810 loaves; we have increased their donations by 162 (20%) and deliver fresh bread weekly to several local food pantries. We have been utilizing our rewards program through text messaging both for food pantry donations and offers such as a free cookie with sandwich. We have also increased our social media presence as well as running Google ads. We have also added shipping as an option as well. We shipped out 35 packages in 2 days!
What challenges are you concerned about in the weeks ahead?
I feel confident that while sales are lower now, that after this our bakery will be thriving more than ever.
What opportunities do you see coming out of this situation?
Having served the community for so long, we have so many regular customers and now we are reaching so many new people. One other thing that I feel is so important is that we support other local businesses as well. Several times a week we get lunch for us and our staff at a neighboring restaurant.