Georgetown business owners reflect on the impact of coronavirus

Georgetown business owners reflect on the impact of coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Georgetown business owners reflect on the impact of coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Georgetown business owners reflect on the impact of coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

To Have and To Hold, a custom gift and bridal store, had been open for 37 days before it was forced to completely shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The business opened one block west of the Georgetown Square Feb. 1 after relocating from Round Rock.

Opening on the Square was a “dream come true” for owner Dixie Doss, she said.

“To see the first 30 days of this business just fly was incredible,” Doss said. “Being on top of the world and [just] crashing down was just heartbreaking.”

Doss said half of her business are custom gifts, which she managed to keep up as much as she could during the closure through door-to-door delivery, partnering with other local small businesses and selling items through social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram.

But the second half of her business relies on the wedding industry, which also took a hit as capacity restrictions forced many weddings to be rescheduled or canceled.

Doss sells wedding invitations, save-the-dates, napkins, cake toppers, bridal party gifts and more. She said that part of her business came to a complete standstill.

Doss who had one part-time employee is now operating the business completely on her own. She said she continues also continues to deliver door-to-door, an adaptation that came from the pandemic that she said she will likely keep. She added that she will do whatever it takes to keep her business alive.

“For small businesses, if we don't have people that are supporting us, you won't have us. That small boutique store, that small business on the Square will be nonexistent,” Doss said. “And at the end of the day, [small businesses] are the backbone of the community.”

Doss’s story is just one of many.

For Julie Bennett, who makes money selling handmade upcycled vintage clothing at rodeos, junk shows and livestock shows across the country through her business, Yipiokya, said she lost her main source of income when those events were canceled.

Bennett said she has too moved to selling merchandise online to help make ends meet.

“Every single day, I'm making something new and putting it online, and some of it sells, [and] some of it doesn't. But it's enabled me to kind of keep my head above water and get my bills paid and stay afloat, stay alive,” Bennett said.

Alycia Tandy, owner of Do Yourself A Flavor, decided to close her business altogether. The catering service had been serving Georgetown since 1994.

When the pandemic hit, Tandy said she had absolutely no revenue stream, as the events she catered—usually church events, nonprofit events, golf tournaments and events hosted in public buildings—were all canceled.

She used to average 30-40 events a month, with May being one of her busiest, she said. That dropped to zero when the pandemic hit.

“I just took it as a sign that it was time to do something else,” Tandy said.

Tandy had four part-time employees who she said are now looking for another way to supplement their income.

“It's just so crazy that all these years nothing has ever stopped [my business],” Tandy said. “And something like this just put it dead in its tracks. It's just—it's hard to imagine. And no matter which way I've tried to bring it back up, it just doesn't happen.”