Business owners shift gears to stay afloat in a COVID-19 world
Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are still out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are some who are using the virus as a way to create new business opportunities.
Jen Rabulan-Bertram and Richard Bentrewicz are two business owners who have thrived during the pandemic.
“We were able to definitely stay busy the entire time,” says Bentrewicz, who owns Heathermeade Distilling & Tree City Vodka.
“I had just been furloughed, so I was just looking for ways to fill my days,” says Rabulan-Bertram, who owns Cotton Candy Skies Boutique.
Rabulan-Bertram says that she saw a demand for face masks and scrub caps in her neighborhood.
“I started sewing those and it sort of flourished from there…It was great to be able to use my creativity and my sewing experience to help others. Especially essential workers in my community,” she says.
Rabulan-Bertram says that creating masks has now turned into the main focus of her business.
Bentrewicz says that he started to make hand sanitizer in his distillery.
"When the federal government basically gave us the ability to start making hand sanitizer, it took me a minute to think about it and then we pivoted to start making hand sanitizer,” he says.
Heathermeade Distilling & Tree City Vodka has made tens of thousands of bottles of sanitizer.
“We donated $35,000 worth of hand sanitizer to first responders,” Bentrewicz says.
Both business owners say that keeping their businesses afloat while also helping others is a win-win.