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Small businesses to share strategies over virtual town hall

Your favorite restaurants and retailers will share what's working for them as they adapt during the pandemic

ST. LOUIS — As lawmakers vote on a relief package for small businesses, business owners in St. Louis will hold an important meeting of their own.

A panel of small business owners will hold an interactive town hall to share how they’ve navigated business during the pandemic.

One of those panelists includes Randy Vines, co-creator of STL-Style. While STL-Style has had to close its storefront, Vines said he has found ways to bring in profit amid stay-at-home orders.

"We've had a big rush in online orders," he said. "Our custom design services and screen printing, embroidery and ad specialty services are all in full swing at this moment. We are able to manage that remotely with a skeleton crew."

Other members of the panel include Ley Woods, owner of Cocktailz: A Beauty Bar; Cbabi Bayoc, artist and owner of Cbabi Originals; and Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, business counselor of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan STL and owner of Don Emilano’s Restaurante Mexicano.

During the hour-long conversation, panelists will address some of the common questions coming from St. Louis business owners.

"What have we done to deal with this crisis in the short term? What about the long term? How are we handling employees? Things like that," he explained.

The conversation will happen over Zoom on Thursday, April 23 at 2 p.m. It is free, but attendees are asked to register online beforehand. Jay Scheinman, a member of the Policy Team at Square, will moderate the discussion.

This comes as lawmakers are expected to pass a second relief package for small businesses Thursday. President Trump has already said he would sign it into law.

Several small businesses in St. Louis missed out on funds from the first rollout, but any uncertainty or stress they feel is being funneled into creative solutions and teamwork.

“We have no choice, we have to come out of this,” Vines said. “At the very least, this reinforces the social fabric that makes cities great and underscores what St. Louis has always done well, which is supporting its own.”


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