April 19, 2020 3 Comments
COVID-19 has brought a great deal of disruption to the lives of people around the world. Those of us here in Nebraska are certainly not immune to these effects. Like so many others, this has been a difficult time for us at Stagecoach. Up until now, I have been hesitant to provide a written response to this crisis, for several reasons. First, I personally have been bombarded with these statements from dozens of other businesses that we deal with. I suspect that you most likely have as well. Secondly, one of our main goals at Stagecoach is to bring joy to our customer’s lives. Whether it’s our colorful exterior, our silly hats and costumes, or our beautiful Native American jewelry, we want to bring a smile to your face. Sending you yet another depressing letter about the Coronavirus is the opposite of what we hope to achieve. If you follow our social media channels you hopefully have seen mostly upbeat and positive messages.
So what has changed?
The shutdowns have persisted longer than any of us had hoped. I believe at this point it is fair to give our followers an update on how it has effected us at Stagecoach. Also, I am personally not receiving as many of these Coronavirus notes now that others have already written theirs. Due to the second point above, I promise to do my best to keep ours as upbeat as possible while also being honest.
Like many small businesses around the country, this situation has not been easy for us. Nebraska has not yet issued a stay-at-home order and we have elected to remain open. Typically we do not have a tremendous amount of traffic this time of year nor are we normally required to work within radically close proximity with customers. That said, we are taking precautions while open. The first and last thing we do each day is to sanitize commonly touched surfaces, such as door handles and the bathrooms. We also wash our own hands and sanitize surfaces after each customer leaves. The health and safety of our employees and customers is of great importance to us.
Like many businesses, Coronavirus has had a major impact on our business. In a normal year, March is a strong month because we get travelers who are here to see the Sandhill Cranes. That was, understandably, not the case this year. We currently have very few people coming through our doors. What’s worse, we are concerned about the summer travel season. Unfortunately, I cannot be optimistic about the upcoming travel season.
This situation has also had an effect on many of our vendors. For example, David Rosales, our most popular Native American jewelry artist, has been forced to shut down his operation. He had around 45 workers, many of whom have been with him for twenty years. Sadly, David Rosales was unable to support all of them under these conditions and had to let most go. While speaking with him on the phone, the anguish in his voice was unmistakable.
Due to David Rosales shuttering his operation, we can no longer have Native American jewelry made for orders. This effected jewelry that was already in the process of being made for us and continues for those that want to place new orders. Many of the items shown on our website are handcrafted jewelry that is made once an order has been placed. For those of you wanting one of these pieces, I can only ask for you to be patient until David Rosales is able to continue. We do have lots of jewelry in stock and would more than happy to send pictures or have you stop by. As a little teaser, I even have a pretty extensive blog post ready to drop about David Rosales, though I think it would be best to wait until he gets going again.
Whew, okay the depressing section is over.
Right now at Stagecoach, we are committed to keeping our employees working through this crisis, as long as it is safe and they feel comfortable working. Honestly, it would save us money to simply shut down and furlough our workers. However, we are a family at Stagecoach and we need to help support our family through this. Also, we see a lot of value in work even beyond the pay. We believe that it is important for every person’s disposition, especially now, to have something to do to take their mind off of what is happening in the world. Having common goals that you can share with those around you really helps lift your spirit.
When people started staying closer to home we ran into a problem. With very little traffic coming our way, days quickly became very long and boring. I don’t think it is very enjoyable for anyone to go to work and have nothing to do. That is why we came up with a unique solution to this problem. Very quickly we decided to undertake a couple of interior renovation projects to keep our workers busy and help spruce up the store. One of these projects is currently underway and nearly complete. The next, which will be significantly more extensive, will hopefully commence soon. We are just waiting for supplies to arrive. Without revealing too much, this is a project that we have discussed for years. Unfortunately, we always ran into the problem of how to manage an interior renovation project without closing down. A lot of products will need to be temporarily moved, which is difficult to do with customers in the store. Having very few customers right now makes this seem like the perfect time for a project like this. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
Be on the lookout for new handmade jewelry from Gary! Having our first project nearly complete and when the second gets underway, my father figures he will have more time on his hands. What better way to utilize that than to make some beautiful new jewelry? I will be posting pictures on our Facebook and Instagram for you to enjoy.
I want everyone to know that we are going to survive this. I am thankful every day to be in a position where we get through a crisis like this. Many other businesses are not as fortunate. We understand the dangers and want everyone to stay healthy. When things get better we will be here for you. Until then, if you are interested in some Native American jewelry or any other item that we have to offer, call, email, or stop in. We would be more than happy to bring something out to your car or ship to your residence. Most of all, I want to thank you for helping to support us. Simply reading this blog, perusing our website, or interacting with our social media posts helps us feel closer to you during this time of social distancing.
Stay safe, healthy, and happy!
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