How 7 American small businesses are adapting

How 7 American small businesses are adapting


From bookstore shopkeepers to cafe owners to disc jockeys, entrepreneurs across America have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Small businesses in the U.S. employ nearly 60 million people, and 57 million are self-employed independent contractors, gig workers, temporary and part-time workers. Benefits like health care coverage or sick paid leave are not guaranteed for all of these workers and many rely on their income to handle these expenses. 

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit the social gatherings and local governments mandating the closure of nonessential businesses to help curb the spread of COVID-19, these business owners have a major challenge: Find creative ways to adjust in a time of crisis. 

Here are seven entrepreneurs who are innovating and reinventing their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

A bookstore all to yourself

Capital Hill Books, forced to close during the coronavirus, had come up with two ways to help it maintain business during the shutdown: shopping by appointment (four shoppers or less) and virtual grab bag book collections shipped to shoppers.

Even before Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered all restaurants, bars and gathering places in the District of Columbia to be shut down, the owners of Capitol Hill Books had been preparing for a new chapter in its business.

Foot traffic had slowed during the March 14 weekend. Usually on weekends, the cozy, three-floor used book store gets quite packed.

“Things were slowing down, and we also anticipated there would be some orders coming down from local government to close,” said Kyle Burk, one of several co-owners who purchased the store in July 2018.


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