They have a beautiful building in Fort Myers, that is packed with women's clothing. But right now at Style Encore, the must-have accessory is the internet.
"We are 100 percent online based right now," Carolyn Rivera says.
Rivera and her husband own the resale shop. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, they did 5% of their business online.
We're telling their story as part of our 'We're Open Southwest Florida' series. Fox 4 News wants to support local business owners by spotlighting the people who have had to adjust and innovate, to keep their businesses open during the pandemic.
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Style Encore has had to change just about everything to stay open.
"We buy and sell clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories. Amazing prices, really high-quality pieces," Rivera says.
But about three weeks ago, people stopped coming in. Carolyn and her husband decided, for the health of their customers and employees, they needed to close the store.
"It was a little bit of an unknown, but honestly, I think humans adapt. And it was a no brainer, I don't want people in and out of the store," Carolyn says. "And at that point, I was like, 'I love my customers, I love the community that comes here everyday. Why don't we see if we can cultivate that online?'"
For a business that did so few online sales, it's a leap. But it's a way to keep the store going.
Every day the store does Instagram Lives. They focus on clothing, or shoes, or accessories. An employee holds an item up to the camera and describes it. If a viewer wants to buy it, they simply type in "sold" in the comment section. The customer can pay online with Paypal or they can call in a payment. Then the store will either ship the item or the customer can come to pick it up at the store where they have a curbside drop-off lane set up.
The store is doing something similar on Facebook as well.
"It's day to day. I think my biggest hurdle and the hardest thing for me is that not all my employees can be here every day," Carolyn says. "So for me as a business owner, trying to provide for these people, it's really hard in that way."
"The biggest thing that we can do is just stick together. Help each other. Let's find out who needs it and give it if you can. It's going to pass, it's just a matter of when it does. So my thing right now is pivot if you can to make your business productive or yourself productive, and help as many people as you can. We'll all come out on the other side."
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