Hello, Pantry fans! We hope that you have managed to stay safe + sane during the global pandemic. We are thrilled to be engaging with you still!
COVID time has certainly not been quiet time for the Pantry Products’ team. While there were definitely days we were wishing for a little afternoon couch time with The Price is Right and a new craft project, we feel so very fortunate to have been able to work up a storm behind our closed Pantry doors!
From crafting our products, fulfilling online + wholesale orders, deep cleaning + organizing, and giving our small shop a make-over, the Pantry team has been working together (at a safe distance) to make the most of this pandemic. Through the highs + lows, we’ve been able to count on each other for ongoing jokes, long conversations, dance party breaks + dog cuddles. We’ve also found comfort in the support of our loyal customers who, even during these crazy times, have shown us that our business + our products are essential to them.
However, everything hasn’t been all sunshine + roses. Running a small business is extremely difficult during “normal” life. Running a small business during these unprecedented times is indescribably difficult. Sadly, we’ve watched many of our fellow business owners struggle with unexpected trials of COVID and of the impact this pandemic has had on the economy. Our heart goes out to each + every one in our entrepreneurial community.
Through these trying times, we have also found inspiration in our small business community. Instead of giving into restrictions + throwing in the towel, we have seen countless businesses figure out how to come together for their town, how to change their business model to support their employees, how to keep doing what they’ve been doing but better! It has shown what makes small business owners a unique breed of human. They’re inventive, creative, diligent, and not afraid to try something new. Tough times call for new changes and if anybody can make that change, it’s your local small businesses. These folks are used navigating through uncertainty to make big things happen – and all with limited funding, limited sleep, and loads of stress.
One prime example of this creative fortitude is, Proper Topper, a Washington D.C. -based Pantry stockist. In business for almost 30 years (yes, 30!!), shop owner Anna Fuhrman, recently had to adapt her retail business after temporarily closing their doors. Anna did so by creating a new subscription box named “Little Box of Wonders”. Each box is hand-curated to deliver the joy of shopping at Proper Topper – the music, the smells, all the feels that make them … Proper Topper. To our joyful surprise, Anna is featuring Pantry goodies in their box! Anna + her team’s perseverance and adaption earned them recognition from Good Morning America! Checkout it out here: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/video/small-business-survived-great-recession-survive-coronavirus-70797522
The Pantry team has used this “downtime” to make some changes, too.
If you were to peek into our windows, you would see that our little shop has been turned a bit upside down. In order to ensure adequate social distance while continuing to do what we do, we’ve adapted the use of our space. Our retail sales floor has become our order fulfillment area and every available (clean) counter top in the back is being used for production. Our product shelves are intermittently absent as they undergo a refresh (Thanks, Sarah + Dane!) and every open floor space is housing extra containers, packing materials, surplus ingredients, and the occasional shop dog (We love you, Lou, Max, Dean, + Bruce). Starting next week, we will begin rolling out an entire new layout to both our retail + production spaces as well as embarking on a small construction project.
And, while one shop is being put back together, another shop is being taken apart. We have made the difficult decision to not reopen our original store location in The Basement. This is a decision we’ve been trying to make for a couple of years and one that is driven not by a lack of business (we’ve seen growth every year at this location) but more about the difficulties of logistically running two locations with one small team. By focusing our efforts on one location and using our existing team to fine tune our retail + production, we will build an even better Pantry.
In the end, what’s most important is to be the best business for our customers and to provide the high quality, handcrafted products our customers have come to love in a time where self care is a necessity. Therefore, whether you are someone who orders one lip balm for curbside pickup, a business owner with a giant wholesale order, or new customer ordering online for the first time, you matter to us + we thank you for allowing us the ability to continue pushing to be better.
And last but certainly not least, nothing would happen without our amazing team. Our crew works hard every single day to to craft our all-natural, chemical free personal care products. With their help, we have managed to help other businesses + spread wellness to our customers. Every product starts in our shop, with a small handmade batch, but they end up all over the country. And these are the hands that make it all happen.
(Our Production Superstars, Kayla + Dani)
As always, we hope everyone is safe and well.
xo, The Pantry Team