Success Story: Wisconsin –
To be a small business in this time of Covid-19 is unprecedented, not to mention stressful, emotional, scary and anxiety provoking. So what can you do to make lemonade out of lemons? Small business owner Maria Caravati of Equinox Botanical Boutique in downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin is promoting WINDOW SHOPPING!
Community needs now
Maria opened Equinox Botanical Boutique in June of 2019. Before that, her business was also called Equinox but specialized in massage, facials and products. It was a wellness boutique which she operated for 18 years. But over the years she became well versed in plants for food, medicine, wellness and beauty. Maria decided that what her community needed now was basic skills in planting and preparing food from self-sustained back yard gardens. She closed for a month and completely changed her business model.
And then the virus came… and in her own words… she started freaking out! After a phone call to her SBDC consultant, Mary Fischer-Tracy of the UW Parkside SBDC in Kenosha, and a talk about staying calm and utilizing government funding, Maria decided that she had to get back to doing what made her happy and hopeful. She started planting and sharing her plants on social media. Pretty soon, her clients were asking how they could get plants even though she was closed. Maria had an idea!
No contact shopping
This past Saturday, she had an event at Equinox Botanical Boutique for clients to window shop. They paid her through an electronic app and she bagged their purchases and set them out the front door of her store with the customer’s name on it. She plans on promoting the event on most Saturdays, and since she is there every day anyway, she encourages her customers to come and window shop during the day.
More than the window shopping, Maria says that staying in touch with her clients and engaging them is the most important part of making this work. She is still waiting for government funding, but until then she said, “I am healing the community one plant at a time.”