The Past Ten Weeks
Well friends, I almost do not know where to start. I have written and re-written this blog post so many times in my head over the past eight weeks but never seemed to be able to put it down in writing.
First and foremost I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out and provided their support since I made the decision to close on March 16th. It was a really hard decision to make as a business owner but a simple one for me to make as a mother, wife, and with the concern of my staff forefront on my mind.
Since March 16th I have been hard at work adding more and more items to the online shop. Becket Hitch has always had a website, however, there was never a lot on it, and it always took the back seat at the bottom of my to-do list. It might seem super simple to upload some photos and add a few words, but when you are doing that for hundreds, and eventually thousands of items it takes a long time. I am still working on adding items daily. Sometimes that means 5 items, and sometimes it means 100. It just depends on what else comes up on any given day.
As your orders increased, we were told on March 30th that we were no longer allowed to offer curbside delivery. Did you know that for a month and a half it was illegal in Baltimore county to offer curbside pickup for non-essential retailers? Crazy right? I know!!! So I pivoted again and moved to offer delivery within 10 miles of the shop. Let me tell you, delivery is a doozy. For the first week it was fun driving around, seeing different neighborhoods, listening to podcasts. After I missed dinner and bedtime with my family for the third night in a row I knew that something needed to change.
By mid-April I was burnt out, stressed out, and overwhelmed by my growing daily task list. Then Jen came back to work and took so much off my plate, I was able to breathe again. She headed up shipping and deliveries while I focused on the website and keeping the backend of the business running. There were 900+ emails in my inbox at this point. I'm not proud, but that's what it was, 900+ ignored emails. Apologies if you were one of them.
That basically brings us up to now. Yes, there was a lot more in between then and now, but let's just speed through it shall we?
Now comes the task of opening the shop to have customers inside it once again. I've spent so many hours talking to my friends from all around the county who own shops about plans, and strategies, and what-ifs and now it is time.
While retail in Baltimore county was opened up to operate at 50% capacity as of Friday Becket Hitch is not there quite yet. We were one of the first to close, and will most likely be one of the last to fully re-open. I'm generally someone who jumps in feet first, but not right now. I've talked with my team and we all agree that taking it slowly, getting our feet wet, figuring out the new normal slowly feels better to all of us.
What does this mean? It means that starting Tuesday, May 26th Becket Hitch is moving to an appointment-based selling model, for now. You can book appointments in 15, 30, or 45-minute blocks depending on what you are coming in for. If you just need a few cards, choose 15 minutes. If you'd like to look at some clothes, choose a 45-minute appointment. We will be there to help you as much or as little as you would like.
Storefront pickup will still be going strong. I know that not everyone is ready to be out in the world yet and that is 100% fine with us. Order your items online and they will be ready for pick-up within an hour, if we are open, or the next business day if you are ordering after hours.
Rest assured that we are keeping the store as spick and span as possible. Disinfecting high touch areas like the register, door handles, and credit card machine. We are asking everyone to utilize hand sanitizer when they enter the shop and not wear gloves that have been used in other places. Masks are being worn by all Becket Hitch staff and we request that you wear yours as well.
The Becket Hitch team and I cannot wait to see you, from 6 feet away of course, and hope that you are all doing well.
XOXO - Kohli