Page 42 - BusinessWest July 20, 2020
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and appreciation folks were showing the institution, even though we weren’t able to welcome them inside.”
That said, Joseph was thrilled to
see more than 1,000 people arrive on opening weekend. “Everyone who showed up said things like ‘thank you, I’m so glad you finally opened’ and ‘I’ve been dying to get back here.’”
Virtual Lessons
Springfield Museums stayed con- nected to fans as well by bolstering its virtual museum offerings online,
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and all that stuff.”
Quinlan concurred, to a point. He
noted that, while buying the large, economy sizes, or full cases of prod- ucts, is less profitable for the store, Table & Vine — and other stores,
he presumes — have been able to sell more in fewer hours, thus yield- ing greater overall productivity and profitability.
But while consumption of alcohol is increasing — statistics nationally con- firm that — overall spending in indi- vidual households may not be. People are buying in bulk, as noted, but they’re also buying less-expensive items in some cases.
“What’s of note to us is that, in
the wine department, the average price of a bottle that we’re selling has gone down a little bit,” Quinlan said. “People who would drink a bottle or two of wine a week were now drinking three or four bottles a week, so they’re spending less on those bottles; the number of bottles we’re moving has increased significantly.”
Mixed Results
As for what people are buying ... it’s generally across the board, said Barry,
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will have to significantly shift our way of learning, teaching, and working.”
Other campuses, like Amherst Col- lege and Smith College, are looking at having roughly half the students on campus for the fall, to better achieve physical distancing, with the ones sent home for remote learning having on- campus priority for the spring.
“We know that any scenario short of bringing everyone to campus will be bitterly disappointing to those who will have to wait until the spring,” Amherst College President Biddy Martin wrote in a letter to students and families. “With this structure, we can provide the opportunity for every student who wishes to be on campus to spend at least one semester here and, if things go well, both semesters for a large
Simpson said, from online classes to video demonstrations of collections and exhibitions, to staff videos showing parents how to do activities with their kids at home.
“We learned lessons from the clo- sure; we came to understand we need this online presence, and it needs to be developed on a parallel track with our on-site experiences. So there is innovation that has come out of this,” Simpson said. “Out of something that no one wanted came positive results that can help shape what we do in the future and help us be better.”
That said, she was quick to add that “we strongly believe having peo-
noting that wine and vodka probably represent the biggest increases.
Speaking of vodka, Kozub, while referencing the shifts in consumption and buying and some changes at his company as it expands nationally, said the pandemic has certainly helped his business in some ways — but definitely hurt it in others.
Indeed, while he’s done much bet- ter with liquor-store sales — in large part because the company is now working with a distributor, which has opened a number of new doors — he’s suffered greatly from not having bars, restaurants, and other gathering spots — from the Hadley American Legion to the South Deerfield Polish Club; from MGM Springfield to the Big E — open for business.
And there are other missed oppor- tunities as well.
“We were going to be the offi-
cial vodka of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Kozub, noting the compa- ny’s current push into Ohio, where that shrine is located (in Canton). “And we were going to sell a lot at the induction ceremony and Hall of Fame Game, but that just got called off.”
As for his liquor-store business, he’s been helped by the work-from-home and stay-at-home trends, and also by
number of those students.” Meanwhile, Springfield Technical
Community College is among a hand- ful of area institutions — several com- munity colleges among them — to continue with an online model this fall, though some programs in STCC’s School of Health and Patient Simula- tion will include low-density, on-cam- pus labs adhering to social-distancing, PPE, and sanitizing protocols.
“STCC has no intention of becoming a fully online institution,” said Geraldine de Berly, vice president of Academic Affairs. “The pivot to online is driven by a health pandemic. COVID-19 has forced the col- lege to adjust, and we do hope in the future to return to the robust utilization of campus facilities.”
In some instances, STCC will use synchronous teaching strategies, with students gathering at a specific time
ple come down to the museums and engage in on-site experiences is really what we do well, and it’s our greatest contribution to our community and people who come to us from all over the region — and across the country and all over the world.”
She’s confident they will come from afar again, though it might take some time. “We might need a vaccine or suc- cessful treatments before people feel really confident about being togeth-
er in the way they were before the pandemic.”
Joseph knows they’ll return, too, whether it’s to see art, like “Kissing Through a Curtain,” that shines a light
‘Zoom mixology’ sessions, as he called them, Zoom happy hours, and other vehicles to educate the public, bring them together (online, at least), and share experiences somewhat like being in their favorite bar.
Meanwhile, as noted, the distribu- tor he’s hired has certainly reduced the profitability of each bottle he sells in his liquor store, but it has greatly increased volume.
“Without the change to a distribu- tor, we would be down 40% overall for the year,” Kozub said, emphasizing, again, just how much he’s lost through restrictions on people gathering in large numbers or confined spaces.
And this ongoing trend — and even taking steps backward in some states, including Florida, Texas, and others — is slowing V-One’s efforts to go national.
“We’re going to do Ohio and Michi- gan next, but we’re going to wait a
little bit for Florida, Texas, and Cali- fornia,” he said, adding that those states, among the current hot spots, are closing many of the bars and restau- rants that were open just a few weeks ago. “The timing of us going national
is good in some ways, but tough in others.”
Meanwhile, in the current climate, getting into new liquor stores and
through videoconferencing. But most of the classes will be taught using an asynchronous approach, which gives students flexibility to set their own hours to complete their studies and assignments.
“Many of our students have child- care obligations, work commitments, and a host of other complicated cir- cumstances,” President John Cook said. “We know that our students benefit from having flexibility in their class- work, and online is yet another way STCC lives its mission of ensuring access to higher education.”
on today’s world, or, conversely, to get away from reality, especially when that reality has been living in isolation for months on end.
“We want our institution to be a place of respite and a place where peo- ple can reflect on their shared experi- ences — and a place to escape, if that’s what they need. Leave the cares of the world behind and take a moment to be with art. That was our great hope when we reopened the doors.” u
Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]
expanding that footprint, which is among Kozub’s many goals, is some- what of a challenge.
“The liquor stores are so busy that they’re not necessarily excited about bringing in new products right now,” he explained. “Because they’re selling everything they have, they’re selling a lot of the staples — the brands people know.”
Beer with Us
This is yet another emerging trend at a time when there have been many changes when it comes to what people are buying, when, where, how, and in what quantities.
The pandemic has certainly changed the landscape in so many business sectors and aspects of society — and alcohol is just one of them.
For some businesses, this will be a vintage year — another industry term — while for others, like Kozub, it will be a mix of new opportunities and lost opportunities, with the former hope- fully outweighing the latter.
And, as with those other sectors, it’s a matter of waiting and seeing what happens. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
What these schools have in com- mon is an emphasis on safety, and on making sure students know their own responsibilities in keeping COVID-19 infections low — and keeping the cam- pus experience alive, in whatever cur- tailed form it might take.
WNEU’s Gross is confident it’s a message they will understand.
“You’re not doing it for yourself, but for other people. And that’s such a posi- tive message we can send,” he told Busi- nessWest. “That’s why human beings are on this earth, to care for one another and take actions that help the community. We hope that value is something that’s embraced by our students. It’s an amaz- ing opportunity to learn and grow and take actions to help others.” u
CONTINUED JULY 20, 2020 41
Flexibility, in many ways, has
become a key word in the region’s high-
er-education sector, which suddenly
offers a wide array of learning models
heading into perhaps the most unusual
fall semester for American students in
generations. [email protected]
Joseph Bednar can be reached at

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