Empty classrooms force small business owner to adapt

The Virginia Beach woman who sells school supplies out of her home says sales plummeted with the rise of COVID-19.

The Coronavirus pandemic is hitting small businesses hard.

But it’s been especially tough for one businesswoman in Virginia Beach who makes her money when kids are in school.

Dorothy Schwartzer sells school supplies out of her Virginia Beach home for a living.

Normally this is her busy season but 2020 has thrown her a curveball. She estimates sales plummeted 80 percent when COVID-19 forced students to learn from home.

“This year has been very slow, very slow,” Schwartzer emphasized. “Sales fell when everyone was kinda just in survival mode.”

Small businesses like hers are in survival mode, too. But Schwartzer is learning to adapt.

She’s using her website TidewaterTeacherSupply.com to market school supplies that can be ideal for learning from home. For example, Schwartzer believes parents should focus on organizational supplies that will help their students stay on task.

“I do think parents will buy school supplies, especially notebooks, organizational material such as binders, folders, storage items to keep supplies in the house,” she said.

As most schools prepare to start the year virtually, Schwartzer also recommends constructing a learning corner for students stuck at home.

“I think it’s important for everyone to have that space and if students go back to school and have to quarantine, and return home, they have that place still that they can return to that’s familiar and comfortable that they had at the start of the school year,” she said.

It’s an unprecedented school year that is guaranteed to teach everyone, including small business owners like Schwartzer, how to adapt.

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