KC business shifts strategy to survive pandemic

Posted at 7:23 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 08:23:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For one Kansas City small business, surviving stay-at-home restrictions meant focusing entirely on a virtual approach.

Home décor and furnishing business RE has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Owner Chrysalyn Huff said the pandemic caused an 85 percent drop in revenue and resulted in 17 employees being laid off.

"I mean the day we closed, we didn't know if we we're going to open again. I mean I remember in the first week, literally breaking down at one point, just collapsing in my husband's arms and just, you know how are we going to survive this because it was very terrifying," Huff said.

Huff, who co-owns the business with her husband, said once stay-at-home orders forced businesses like hers to close, a decision was made to do weekly live sales events online.

"My daughter and I, we post, we show everything we talked about it. We give them a price, and then people literally bid or say me and they buy it. And I have a spreadsheet full of people who have shopped, and they register ahead of time on a Google Doc so that we have all their like invoice information captured already so we just are able to cross reference it and send them an invoice," Huff explained.

She said the sales events and social media have been life savers for the business.

However, the business owner said it's important other businesses survive the pandemic.

"I am not successful if I beat everybody out and I become an island standing by myself. What makes me successful is when all these beautiful little boutiques and stores and restaurants, open back up and we all do it at the same time," Huff said.

She said the business started doing private appointments on Monday.

RE could reopen to the public as early as June, with a slow, phased approach.