Local small businesses evolve to survive during pandemic

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RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — The pandemic continues to change the way we all operate.
In order to survive, many small businesses across the country changed as well.

As the co-owner of a small restaurant, Michelle Rotellini said she vividly remembers the day when Governor Jim Justice shut down all bars and restaurants, allowing only take-out orders.

“It was really tough to get your brain around. You were really scared for your employees and really just for the whole world,” said Rotellini.

In the year since, Rotellini said she had to drastically change how she handled personnel, prepared food, and catered to customers. She said they began offering curbside delivery right away and even though they are called The Dish, she said they stopped using dishes and switched to disposable containers.

Rotellini said they had to do whatever they could to cut out as much contact with the customer as possible. Chris Shannon is a line cook at The Dish Cafe. He said he cannot imagine handling these changes during the pandemic without his coworkers in the kitchen with him.

“Not one of us could have done this with out the other one. It just wouldn’t have happened,” said Shannon.

Both Rotellini and Shannon said their doors would not be open today if it were not for the support of the community.

“We also had a lot of great local folks who bought gift cards just to support us financially,” said Rotellini.

“Oh absolutely, if it weren’t for the community, because we were shut down for a hot minute, we were just doing to go’s, and if it wasn’t for them we probably wouldn’t have had a chance,” said Shannon.

Rotellini said in the long run, the changes small businesses made to survive pandemic will help them thrive in the future.

Businesses that were able to reinvent themselves and change the way they were able to do business during the pandemic are going to be super successful coming out of the pandemic,” said Rotellini

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