HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - While more people are social distancing, small businesses are doing all they can to keep customers during the COIVD-19 pandemic.
Family owned stores, such as Brackman’s Stepping Stone Rock and Garden Center, are doing that in a unique way.
Brackman Stepping Stone Rock and Garden center has been helping green thumbs in the Pine Belt for the last 7 years.
Owner Judy Brackman says business has been slim since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
“We have seen a slight decline in our business on certain days because people are doing self-quarantine and staying at home, following the guidelines,” Brackman said. “But there are some days where you can just tell that they’ve gotten antsy and ready to get out of the house.”
For that reason, Brackman says the store has a way of making it easier for customers to practice social distancing while shopping.
"We have offered curbside for some time for the shoppers that do shop with us,” Brackman said. “But with the virus, that has come in has just kind of taking it to the next level for us. We’re able to fulfill their orders by allowing them to pickup curbside, not even coming in to pay. They can pay by phone or if they want to come in and pay, they can run in and pay because we do have a large open facility that they are able to keep their distance from some.”
Once customers place an order, all they have to do is give workers time to get everything potted and ready to go, then just pull up and get what they ordered.
“We just come right out here to the nursery area and we take our time and plan their pots out,” Brackman said. “We dig through the plants to make sure we’re picking the prettiest plant that they would choose if they were in the story. When they get home, everything is organized. All they have to do is take that bag to a certain pot and they are able to plant it.”
Brackman says there is a bit of a silver lining to the pandemic.
She says it’s easier for small businesses owners to take personal one on one connections with customers to the next level.
“Maybe a customer that never knew about you or never really shopped for you because they went to a big box store instead of coming to you, has the opportunity to know experience the service that you’ve always given to somebody,” Brackman said. “If you could continue to give that same level of service to all these new customers that are coming into your store and supporting you, then I think it will be able for you to grow your business for the future.”
If you’re interested in the curbside pickup, you can send a picture to the businesses Facebook page of what you’re working on and they will get everything ready for you. You can also call the store and order that way.