Page 40 - BusinessWest July 6, 2020
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Amid COVID-19, the need for organizations such as Open Pantry Community Services has grown. Matt Ogrodowicz of Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. led a charge to collect food and donations at MBK over a two-week period. He shared Open Pantry’s mission as well as its high-demand items, includ- ing cereal, pasta, canned goods, peanut butter, and spaghetti sauce. Staff at MBK donated food and/or money, which Ogrodowicz used to shop for additional items on the high-demand list. With the combined efforts, MBK was able to donate 279 pounds of food to Open Pantry.
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it into my culture and kind of be prepared.”
Elaborating, she referenced every- thing from shampooing customers
— some states allowed it, while others didn’t — to blow-drying hair (again, some allowed it, others didn’t); from taking customers’ temperatures when they walked in the door to learning about a company that came up with plexiglass dividers on wheels to place between stylists’ stations.
The goal was to be as prepared as possible, and all those webinars cer- tainly helped.
White Lion
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ing of high-profile events where the brand had a presence, such as the Holyoke Road Race, to the suspension of the beer gardens the company has hosted in downtown Springfield and Westfield during the summer and fall months.
“It was just like a crash — it all hap- pened at once within a 48-hour period when the state and federal govern- ments stepped in and put restrictions in place,” he noted, adding that, as sales plummeted (only liquor stores, also deemed essential, remained as a distribution point), the company had to lay off some of its employees in stag- es and figure out how to manage with those who remained.
White Lion has been helped by assistance programs on a number of levels, from the federal Paycheck Pro- tection Program to the local Prime the Pump initiative created by the Devel- opment Department in Springfield, said Berry, adding that this help, cou- pled with the remaining business from
Westfield, spray bottles from another business owner, and a timely referral from an area dentist on where to pro- cure thermometers in just a few days.
“It was obstacle after obstacle after obstacle just trying to get set up to open,” she recalled. “And we started the minute we closed. Governor Baker did a great job with all this, but he gave us very little notice; he said, ‘OK, you can open, but you have to have these pro- tocols in place.’ It was like setting up a whole new way to do business, and we weren’t given much time to do it.”
The company reopened its salon the day after Memorial Day, with the salon aspects of the businesses opening a
“The taproom component is under construction now,” he went on, “and we hope that by mid-August, the tap- room piece, as well the kitchen piece,
few weeks later, under the second stage of phase 2 — again, with very little time to prepare. Now, all but a few of the many services are available, with the rest, like the sauna, to come in phase 4.
Puffer says she’s managed because she was able to learn from others through those webinars and by antici- pating what would come next so she could be ready for it.
It’s been a trying — and very tir- ing — experience. And that’s why she’s more than ready for the vacation she’s not likely to get any time soon. u
—George O’Brien
September, noting that these ventures will be part of phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
Looking back — and ahead — Berry, echoing countless other business own- ers across every sector of the economy, said the pandemic has provided a stern test, one he believes his team is passing through determination and imagination.
“It’s been a challenge in every way you can imagine,” he told BusinessWest. “It’s just a predicament that we’re in, and we have to pivot and continue to find ways to remain resourceful and efficient for the benefit of the sustain- ability of the company.
“I always said that we’re all resilient as people,” he went on. “And there’s always going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t know how long that tunnel may be, but there will be a light, and we’re starting to see some of that that now.” u
—George O’Brien
“I was working hard behind the scenes — probably harder than when we were open.
What also helped was some advice to think outside the box when it came to needed supplies, which she did after finding that items she ordered in March were simply not going to arrive. She managed to buy some alcohol
for cleaning from another business in
liquor stores, enabled the company to stay on its feet during those brutal spring months.
And as the state continues to reopen
It’s just a predicament that we’re in, and we have to pivot and continue to find ways to remain resourceful and efficient for the benefit of the sustainability of the company.”
    It’s been a challenge in every way you can imagine.
      40 JULY 6, 2020
businesses, the outlook for White Lion continues to brighten. Restaurants have reopened across the region, and the state’s casinos have been given the green light to open their doors, although MGM Springfield has not given a specific date when it might
do so. And work has resumed on the project in Tower Square, and Berry is projecting that his crew can be in and brewing beer by the end of this month.
will be complete, and that by the end of August or early September we can start welcoming people into the space.”
Meanwhile, White Lion has recalled most of its seven employees and expects to be “whole” in that regard by late July, he said.
Projecting beyond the next few months is difficult, but Berry believes the company will be able to open its beer gardens in late August or early

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