When foot traffic slowed, Plano specialty food store owner hopped in his car for deliveries

A variety of halal meats are on display at Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery. (Courtesy Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery)
A variety of halal meats are on display at Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery. (Courtesy Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery)

A variety of halal meats are on display at Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery. (Courtesy Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery)

When the first coronavirus-related closures shut down Plano restaurant dine-in areas in March, Vaishal Patel’s specialty food store saw an initial uptick in customers.

But by a few weeks later, that influx of foot traffic at Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery had slowed substantially, Patel said.

“In April, I saw people weren’t coming to shop anymore,” said Patel, the store’s owner. “I really went to people’s houses, door to door, like, in my personal car.”

Patel reached out to his core customers by email, plus an additional audience via Facebook, to let them know that Horizon would deliver groceries to their homes. The store soon received dozens of emails with interest in the service. To save money on delivery, instead of hiring another company, Patel made the trips himself.

Most people receiving groceries had no idea they were being delivered by the owner of the business, Patel said.


Before the coronavirus forced Patel and other business owners to find creative ways to address the challenges of life in a pandemic, Horizon had already made a name for itself in the community by offering a wide variety of foods from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian countries.

“Our niche is the halal market,” Patel said. “We are [a] 100% halal market, so our standard has to be really, really high when it comes to meat and groceries in general.”

Revenues have been higher now than they were when the pandemic began, but the store has still had its share of difficulties to overcome, Patel said.

"One of the challenges I faced was getting products here," Patel said. "Bringing products here, there were weeks where I didn’t have any rice."

Some of the foods sold at Patel's store had to be imported from other countries, he said.

Like other grocery stores, Horizon also had to figure out how to continue operating while complying with safety guidelines from health authorities to protect customers and employees.

"We’re a small business," Patel said. "Our goal is to be part of the community."

Horizon Specialty Market and Bakery

2901 W. 15th St., Plano

469-782-2595

www.horizonmarket.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


MOST RECENT

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

The annual Heights Car Show will look slightly different from years past. (Courtesy David Alvey)
Richardson car show to carry on, part of Keller trail to close: DFW business, community news

Read the latest business and community news from Dallas-Fort Worth here.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

The Weihenstephaner Pils, a hoppy pale lager, is one of the German beers Bavarian Grill serves straight from the tap. (Courtesy Bavarian Grill)
Lewisville school plans, police reform talks and other popular DFW stories from this week

Here are five recent updates from Greater Dallas on restaurants opening and closing, community conversations about policing and more.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, establishments are encouraged, but not required, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas restaurants, businesses not required to disclose positive COVID-19 cases

If an employee of a business or restaurant tests positive for COVID-19, establishments are encouraged, but not required, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines.

Habitat for Humanity of Collin County accepts donations of furniture, appliances, home decor items and more at its Plano ReStore. It then sells these items to fund its nonprofit work. (Courtesy Habitat for Humanity of Collin County)
Dips in volunteers, revenue leads to fewer completed projects for Habitat for Humanity of Collin County

Lower sales and donations meant fewer funds for Habitat’s work. Fears of the virus also meant fewer volunteers were comfortable pitching in on projects.

The draft policy was released a week before the district will require parents to report their interest in the district’s alternative, fully remote learning track. (Courtesy Pexels)
Draft policy: Plano ISD to require masks, take other health measures if students return to campuses in fall

The policies, while subject to change, represent the fullest picture yet of what a return to classrooms could look like if Plano ISD schools are able to reopen in the fall.

Crews will continue their work on two stretches of Coit Road in Plano. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Construction update: Coit Road project in Plano continues, with sights set on two main stretches

Crews are making pavement and sidewalk repairs on two stretches of Coit Road.

Effective July 9, hospitals in more than 100 counties across the state must now postpone elective surgeries unrelated to COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAP: Governor expands restrictions on elective surgeries to more than 100 Texas counties

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the restrictions that initially required only hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures that are unrelated to COVID-19.

The Frisco Chamber of Commerce will host its State of the City panel discussion online July 14. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Frisco chamber to host State of the City, Crayola Experience reopens in Plano: Business, community news from DFW

Read the latest Community Impact Newspaper coverage of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott's July 2 executive order, the University Interscholastic League is requiring the use of facial coverings when practical to do so for all summer activity participants, among other guidelines. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
UIL releases guidelines for conducting summer activities during COVID-19 pandemic

The University Interscholastic League released udpated guidelines for schools conducting summer activities such as sports training and marching band practices on July 8.