If it seems business in Clovis changed overnight, it’s because it did. When the State of California issued a stay at home order for residents on March 19th, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Clovis followed suit and all non-essential businesses were asked to close.
The majority of the businesses shutdown are locally owned. Boutiques and salons are closed. Restaurants and coffee shops are only open for takeout and delivery. Movie theaters are dark. Car lots are quiet. Offices are empty and employees are being laid-off, furloughed or working from home.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of a city,” said Vong Mouanoutoua, member of the Clovis City Council. “To all our small businesses, thank you for your sacrifice. You are the living example of putting others and your community first and for trusting the tough decisions that has to be made.”
The City of Clovis knows these are tough times for business owners and employees. The city is also aware of the long-term effect COVID-19 will have on the economy.
“The biggest challenge has been managing the confusion,” said Andy Haussler, Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Clovis. “The world changed overnight. Our unemployment rate was 3.2%. We were seeing historic commercial development. We were gaining jobs at a pretty rapid pace. I’m confident we can get back to that, it’s just how long does it take?”
At this time there is no set date to when the State of California will lift the stay at home order. The good news is social distancing looks to be working and California seems to be flattening the curve of infections.
“We will endure, we will come through this as a community,” Haussler said. “And I look forward to seeing how we do that together. Clovis is resilient.”
The city has launched several websites with resources for the public. At Clovis4Business.com you’ll find information on how to utilize stimulus funds.
At VisitClovis.com/dinning there’s a list of restaurants offering pickup and delivery, along with some special offers.
CaringForClovis.com launched as a way for residents to support local businesses by purchasing gift cards that can be used when businesses reopen.
“The service industry is heavily impacted,” Haussler said. “We are trying to think of creative ways to help.”
Business owners with questions can call Haussler personally at 559-324-2095. He says he’ll do his best to help in any way he can.
“My message to business owners in Clovis, is we are here for you, please call us,” he said. “We look forward to businesses thriving in Clovis once again.”
The Clovis Chamber of Commerce is also working overtime to help businesses stay afloat.
“Clovis has a rich history of nurturing and supporting small business,” said Greg Newman, President and CEO of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce. “Small business is very important to our community. They provide jobs for our local residents and the income they produce stays in our community. This is very important to help the local economy as the money circulates to help support other local businesses.”
April is traditionally a huge month for the City of Clovis. With the postponement of Big Hat Days and the cancelation of the Clovis Rodeo, millions of dollars are lost. The rodeo alone usually has an economic impact of about $12 million.
“Our member businesses are very concerned regarding the financial impact on their business and workers,” Newman said. “Many have a positive attitude that we will all get through this however the length of time of the shelter in place directive will certainly have an impact and some businesses may not recover.”
Some businesses have gotten creative, in hopes of keeping money coming in.
Snowflake Designs has been creating gymnastic leotards in Clovis for over 35 years. What started as an at home business has grown by leaps and bounds. Snowflake Designs sells nationwide.
In hopes of keeping her team of seamstresses and designers on the payroll, owner LaDonna Snow came up with the idea to make masks out of leotard material. They are available through the website SnowFlakeDesigns.com
Another small business changing the way they operate is Revival 23 in Old Town Clovis. The boutique is using social media and their website to show off their inventory and then offers curbside pickup for customers.
The City of Clovis urges residents to do what they can to support local businesses during this time. It’s important to keep the money you are spending local.
“Clovis draws people of character with solid values from all corners of the world,” Mouanoutoua said. “Whether you are a seventh generation resident or recently just moved in, you make Clovis strong, because of this, Clovis will survive and come out better.”