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Curbside pickup is the new normal for small businesses working to stay afloat

Small businesses from bookstores to boutiques and restaurants will be navigating this difficult road one day at a time

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — The struggle is real for small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The owner of the Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves has read countless books, just not one on what business owners should do in the current climate.

"I'm sure they're rushing to print right now," Holland Saltsman said.

The struggle is like one she's never dealt with as a small business owner.

"I've talked with my staff about cutting hours, who could voluntarily step out of staff positions for a while. It's heartbreaking because you're responsible for people," she said.

Saltsman chose to temporarily close her bookstore to the public, but it's not the end for her customers.

The Novel Neighbor has been offering curbside pickup since last week.
And some customers are taking her up on it, calling the store for feel-good book recommendations and workbooks for their kids.

"Boredom busters," she explained.

It seems curbside pickup is the new normal, from bookstores to boutiques.

"We're so thankful for our customers. I cannot emphasize that enough. Their purchases feel like a hug right now," said Rachel Sauter, owner of Leopard Boutique.

Sauter chose to temporarily close two of her three locations to the public starting Wednesday, but she'll still offer curbside pickup as an option.

"Every little bit helps. We run on small margins. We're a small business," Sauter said.

Olive + Oak in Webster Groves is another small business making changes, only offering carry-out and delivery.

"That's our biggest concern right now. Is keep everyone employed and have money coming in for them," co-owner Mark Hinkle said.

And starting Friday, all restaurants and bars in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Franklin County will be forced to make changes. Local leaders announced Tuesday that there will be a ban on dine-in service beginning Friday morning.

RELATED: Dine-in service to end at St. Louis area restaurants, bars beginning Friday

Small businesses from bookstores to boutiques and restaurants will be navigating this difficult road one day at a time.

"It's real. Nothing like I've ever seen," Hinkle said.

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