In this series, we learn from small businesses across the country how they are adapting in the world of COVID-19.
The Queen’s Cups, started out of Renee King's parent’s kitchen in 2011. By 2012, she opened a small store front in her hometown of Millbury, MA on a whim after graduating from Worcester State University with a degree in Psychology. After a few years, they started to outgrow their space and moved to the historic Canal District in Worcester, MA. The Queen's Cups specializes in gourmet cupcakes and handcrafted desserts that are made with love and baked fresh daily.
How do you plan to prepare your business for the Holidays with health and safety in mind?
We have started to discuss the holidays and are trying to devise a plan to keep everyone safe. Luckily, we have two rooms in our storefront where we think we will have a pick-up station and an ordering station. I am sure our first holiday will be a learning experience, and we always evaluate our practices after.
How will you communicate your safety plans to your customers?
We like to plan ahead for holidays, so once we have a plan, we will start posting to our social media sites and update our website at least a month beforehand. We will also have signs made and try and block off the driveway if we can. Hopefully the weather is nice, and our customers can wait in nice weather outside to limit the amount of people inside the store.
What are you doing now that you weren't previously?
We have online ordering now for same day pick up and we have more coffee options!
What challenges did you have to overcome?
We adjusted our hours, which was difficult for some of our customers to adjust to. We had to learn the online order system which is something we had never done before. I had to adjust to the fact that I went from 30 employees to less than 20 essentially overnight. Business is very different, but honestly, I am happy with the changes.
How are you taking care of your employees?
They are spoiled rotten. Haha! Just kidding…. Each week we were ordering lunch on Fridays from different local restaurants. I provide their masks and hand sanitizer. I make sure to check in with them about how they are doing, in life and with the changes because of COVID. I do everything in my power to make them feel appreciated.
What opportunities have you discovered coming out of this situation?
I absolutely love the option of online ordering because that’s the direction the world is moving in. We tried out shipping for a while which was a lot of work but something I enjoyed.
What advice or tips do you have for other small businesses?
I think during these times, it’s important to be a person. To feel what you feel, to have those days where you are down and feel defeated and other days when you think you’re on top of the world. Business is lonely. There are not many people in our immediate lives who understand what it takes to own a business. It can be isolating, but it is also the greatest feeling in the world. I think acknowledging the good and the bad helps us deal with the public better, and our staff, and in our personal life.