Cambridge Naturals Balances A Surge In Demand With COVID-19 Challenges
The challenges facing retail small businesses from COVID-19 aren’t limited to just restaurants.
With over 45 years in business, you think the Cambridge Naturals team would have seen it all. They were pioneers of the health/wellness retail segment that slowly transitioned into the golden age of organics, herbals, CBD and many other consumer products that help define a healthy lifestyle today. This family-owned business has endeared themselves to the communities they serve and now define the modern-day, brick and mortar retail experience through education (staff and customers), unique product selection and remarkable customer service.
While the COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc on many small businesses over the past few weeks, somewhat unexpectedly, Cambridge Naturals has seen a surge in sales. The increased sales resulting from panic buying and government mandated restrictions have impacted their business in other ways, however. With concerns over staff safety and challenges with keeping the shelves stocked, Cambridge Naturals made the difficult decision to hit the reset button last weekend. Both stores in Cambridge and Brighton have closed and will tentatively reopen Monday, March 23rd with reduced hours going forward. Employees will be paid during this break in business.
Cambridge Naturals has willingly shared their current plans below (changing very rapidly) for the shutdown with new in-store operations, on-line delivery options and supply chain updates that will be implemented for the foreseeable future. These steps are intended to keep the best interests of their staff, customers and suppliers in mind, and to create a safer way to get their products to loyal customers:
- Shopping appointments will be encouraged to limit customer interactions in the store and provide a safer experience for all
- Walk-ins will be limited (some of their customers don’t actually use the internet)
- Increased coordination with suppliers to maintain a healthy level of inventory and balance the struggle of many suppliers to keep up with demand, especially in the grocery and specialty food/retail segment
- Limited inventory will be available online through Mercato for delivery – hoping to increase the selection as quickly as possible. Offering a discount code for first time buyers + free delivery.
- Will begin taking phone orders for pick up from customers
- Proactively communicating with their landlords to request leniency, as needed
- Setting up communication lines with city officials so that they’re correctly following guidelines
- Researching available funding, if the situation continues to escalate and they are forced to shut down operations completely for a longer period of time.