Standing Stone Coffee Company in Huntingdon Borough was among the few businesses that did not have to shut down operations because the pandemic, but the business still took a hit.
“Our numbers were cut down to about 20% of our original sales,” said Greg Anderson, Owner of Standing Stone Coffee Co.
Anderson said he adapted his business, adding curbside pickup, delivery and taking online orders.
The wholesale side of his company flatlined, as other businesses in the area stopped buying his products following the shutdown.
Despite great community support, Anderson said the sales might not have been enough.
“We can do takeout, but sustaining a business on that with the staffing that we had certainly wouldn’t have been possible,” Anderson said.
Surging case counts following an outbreak at nearby SCI Huntingdon kept Huntingdon County in the red and yellow phases of reopening much longer than its neighbors.
“I think the people of Huntingdon County, especially business owners, were hurting not being able to open their doors,” said State Representative Rich Irvin.
“I know that a lot of people were going to other counties to do things that they couldn’t do here in Huntingdon County,” said Yvonne Martin, CEO of the Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce. “I’m sure that that has been an impact.”
“Some businesses in other parts of the state were allowed to open doing the same business that the local Huntingdon County business was not allowed to open,” Irvin said.
Anderson said business picked up when Huntingdon County moved to green, but he also wanted to make sure staff and customers were safe.
“There’s some things that I don’t understand and I respect the scientists that do understand it,” he said. “I was ok with waiting.”
Instead of planning year to year, Anderson said he’s planning month to month. With flu season approaching, he’s preparing for a difficult fall; especially if students can’t return to Juniata College.
“I’m working ahead to secure funding, squirrel away funds, preparing staff to be thinking differently about what November through February is going to look like,” he said.
For now, Anderson’s educating customers on the new way of doing business. Part of that is requiring masks. He said it’s uncomfortable, but necessary.
“If we get a tough run of case again and businesses have to shut down because we’re not wearing masks, that’s way more costly and way more uncomfortable than wearing masks now,” Anderson said.
Anderson said his business received a PPP loan that helped them get through a tough time.
Irvin said some businesses in the county may not survive. He echoed Anderson’s comments on masks, saying he wants the economy to stay open and taking precautions can help keep it that way.