Surviving COVID19: Taste Oil Vinegar Spice of Downtown Fredericksburg Benefits from PPP
For one of downtown Fredericksburg’s most cherished small businesses, Taste Oil Vinegar Spice, 2020 got off to a great start. The first few months of the year brought increases in sales to both the Fredericksburg and Culpeper locations, and the Culpeper shop was in the midst of a move to a larger, more desirable storefront. All of that came to a sudden halt in mid-March. On March 18, they sent their employees home on with no expectation of when they would reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s owner Deb Foley, like virtually all other businesses, had to quickly learn how she was going to keep her business afloat to survive this unprecedented situation. Deb focused solely on her online sales, working 6 days a week to keep up with orders.
Deb fulfilled online orders and met customers for pickups which brought in just enough revenue to cover expenses. When she heard about the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), she reached out to her local SBDC Consultant, Susan Ball, for more information and how to apply.
Although she applied for PPP money as soon as the portal opened, she was not initially accepted due to the overwhelming number of applications. The SBDC encouraged her to apply to a local bank; she was accepted and received PPP money in mid-May. “The funds have had a huge impact on our business. Not having to use our money from sales to fund payroll has allowed us to be able to allocate the money on replenishing our inventory. I feel very grateful that we were able to receive this money. This has allowed our business to stay healthy, or as healthy as it can be under these times,” Deb said.
Eight weeks after closing, Phase II reopening went into effect and she reopened the storefront. “The hours for our stores are not what they used to be before the pandemic. This is keeping the payroll lower than usual. We are thinking about staying open longer,” shares Deb.
Deb is currently in the process of getting the new location in Culpeper renovated.