Shop Local Raleigh director offers advice to local businesses shifting online during COVID-19

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Heather Chandler and her husband own Whole Brain Escape in Apex and they closed in mid March.

There is a level of stress when you're working your way through an escape room. It's nothing that rivals the coronavirus pandemic though.

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They tried to move their business to partly virtual but found it to be too difficult.

"From what we offer, from the experience we offer, it's incredibly hard to do that so we have opted to hunker down and prep for reopen whenever that may be," said Chandler, who has a job as a video game designer to help keep her family afloat for now.

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Chandler is taking a lot of cues from Shop Local Raleigh about their opening schedule. She said she's using this time to prepare.

"We're going to start having hand sanitizer everywhere," Chandler said. "Depending on what the guidelines are, people will need to wear masks when they come in to play, employees will wear masks."

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Jennifer Martin, executive director of Shop Local Raleigh, is offering a webinar to local businesses on how to shift their sales online.

A lot of the businesses she works with will not be able to open in phase one, which is expected by the end of the week.

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She also has tips that businesses can use now.

"Wiping down their counters, social distancing, how many people are allowed in a store at one time because of square footage," Martin said. "Businesses need to think about fitting rooms, people trying on clothing, whether they're going to allow returns? Folks need to be prepared for these things in advance of opening."

She also said she's been talking with business a lot about personal protective equipment and whether they'll need to do bulk buys in this current time period.

Martin suggested looking at a business like an escape room or a gym and thinking about buying a future group package to help them out in the meantime.
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