As the pandemic disrupts life across the globe, everyone is being forced to adapt and make sacrifices during the unprecedented crisis. None may be more affected than small businesses, with many being forced to temporarily shutter or adapt operations due to a new normal ushered in by state regulations and social distancing measures.
According to a recent study, the City of Falls Church ranks third overall in best places for small businesses and more than 29 percent of City residents depend on small business income, the fifth highest figure in the state.
The News-Press has asked Falls Church area businesses to share their pandemic challenges and struggles and how the virus has affected operations and the adaptations they’ve had to make in response. Each week, we’ll be sharing their stories.
This week’s business: Clay Cafe Studios.
Twenty-two years ago, Clay Café Studios was welcomed with open arms by this wonderful community. We have watched children grow up and build their families, all the while supporting our fun, creative art studio.
Our business model is built on hosting birthday parties, scout troops, corporate team-building events, conducting classes and our popular summer camp. The Covid-19 pandemic has ground all of that to a halt.
In order for Clay Café to survive, we have pivoted to a to-go pottery model. Painting pottery is a great way to raise spirits with a fun activity, as well as art therapy during this stressful time.
We offer curbside pick-up and delivery of our kits. Customers take pottery home to paint, with contactless pickup/delivery. Our kits include everything you need to create. We are also encouraging our customers to coordinate with friends and other groups to conduct their own pottery painting party on Zoom (or other platforms), where everyone in the group picks up a kit prior to the party. We offer curbside pick-up and delivery of our kits.
While this does bring in some revenue, it does not make up for the dramatic financial loss we are experiencing during the stay-home order we are under.
Every day is a struggle, but we are grateful for our loyal customers who are buying our kits. They are helping us both monetarily and emotionally to weather this storm and we are very humbled by their support.
— Gayla Hassett, Owner, Clay Café Studios
101 North Maple Avenue, Falls Church 22046, 703-534-7600, www.claywire.com.
Tell us the history of your Falls Church small business, how the virus has affected your operation and the adaptations, struggles and more you’re facing during this unprecedented crisis. Photos, along with the commentaries, are welcome and encouraged. Please send submissions, up to 500 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org.