With the government changing what businesses were allowed to do day by day early in the Covid19 pandemic, local business owners looked outside their usual practices to remain viable.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared in March essential services only needed to remain open and those who could work from home should. Deeming a nice outfit was not 'essential', main street clothing retailer Jak + Jill made the decision to close until the threat eased.
With people unable to walk through the door and a store full of seasonal clothing that needed to be turned over, owners Trish Hines, Tracey Ewings and Jaime Hall took to Facebook and Instagram to market their stock and offered postage on purchases via these mediums.
Most Australians were in lockdown but for work and grocery shopping and all events postponed, so Trish said business was slow, however they stuck at it keen to offer something during the trying time.
During their shutdown, Jak + Jill was able to utilise the Federal Government's JobKeeper program.
As Covid19 infections decreased, Jak + Jill re-opened with reduced hours, which have now extended to be 10am-3pm Tuesday to Thursday, 10am-4pm Friday and 10am-1pm Saturday.
Their large premises meant they were not dealt a severe hand in terms of social distancing with eight people allowed in store at one time, however this restriction does prevent them from hosting sales or their popular customer evenings.
"We are really enjoying being back and having that face to face contact with our customers; we have had so much support since we re-opened and we really appreciate that," Trish said.
Down the road, at E'Claires Coffee Shop, proprietor Claire Black and her husband Josh, owner of small business Blackie's Power Equipment, sat watching Mr Morrison outline restrictions and vowed they would do whatever was necessary to keep their businesses afloat.
With pubs and clubs shut, Claire saw a gap in the market to offer take away and home delivered dinners as well as the lunches, coffee and morning/afternoon tea which she and her team had built a strong reputation on.
Cootamundra's older population in particular took to the venture ordering and paying for their meals over the phone, then having them delivered to their verandah, keeping the process contact free. Home delivered dinners continue with people to place their order by 2pm for delivery between 5-6pm.
The hard work of Claire and her team in the early days meant she did not have to apply for JobKeeper for her staff as there was enough work for them in the store.
She followed the government guidelines as they allowed initially 10 people in a cafe and now 50 people, practicing social distancing and hygiene measures including sanitiser for customer use the entire time.
"it has been difficult only knowing as much as the customers know; we didn't know from one day to the next if we would still be in business so we kept pushing as hard as we could to get ahead in case the day came we had to close our doors; thankfully it hasn't arrived," Claire said.
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