While you’re cooped up at home, it can be difficult to keep your mind off the pandemic. Until Friday, Mischief Toy Store was more than ready to help out with its quarantine care packages filled with toys, books, games, and puzzles.
But with the governor’s latest stay-at-home order in effect, co-owner Dan Marshall said the store is complying and ceasing all operations––including curbside pickup. The family-owned and -operated toy store closes as Easter approaches, which is typically its second busiest time of the year.
Although things look grim, Marshall is confident Mischief will be able to weather this recession, just as it did in 2008.
TCB: How has your work at Mischief Toy Store changed or been disrupted by coronavirus?
Marshall: We closed our store to shopping beginning Thursday, March 19th, and began offering curbside pickup on the 21st. We had a strong response from our customers, many of whom are quarantined at home with their children for an unspecified length of time. We offered "quarantine care packages" customized to each family, which are designed to offer lots of activities and distractions.
Q: Is there anything you’re able to do right now to compensate for lost business or create new streams of revenue?
A | We have to cease our curbside pickup program because our store is not an essential service. As a store that's always focused on in-person sales, there isn't any way we can continue business. We'll be waiting this out at home.
Q: After this is all over, do you anticipate business bouncing back quickly, or are you bracing for the worst?
A | We've been selling toys for 21 years and we remember the 2008-2009 recession very well. We anticipate that the effects of this downturn will take many months to resolve and we're worried that we'll be seeing significant decreases in revenue for many months to come. That said, our experience has taught us to innovate and to cope with situations like this. Unlike bigger businesses, we can be pretty scrappy when we need to.
Q: Are you able to find any bright spots in this crisis?
A | I think we've seen in the past week or so just how important we are to our community and we feel strengthened by the overwhelming support they have given us. Right now, we feel extremely lucky to have such amazing customers. Our employees have also been amazing and really helped pull us through these past two weeks.
Q: What are some ways you’re keeping up morale for yourself and employees, especially now given the shutdown?
A | We're just trying to take care of each other and make sure we don't get too overwhelmed. We've been limiting daily quantities of sales and offering limited hours of phone service so that we don't get overworked.
Q: What’s your best advice for everyone while staying home––for working remotely productively, not losing sanity, and preventing everyone from going stir-crazy?
A | Our best advice is to try to get outside as much as you can, even if it's in your own back yard. Our family's sanity is mostly being maintained with a frisbee right now.