WAHOO – The Wahoo Chamber of Commerce got creative last week as they devised a clever way to promote local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the organization kicked off the Rally Wahoo campaign, with the hashtag “small town stimulus” to great success.
Executive Director Theresa Klein said Chamber board members Josh Krieger, Stacey Ideus and Kathryn Nygren and Executive Assistant Jennifer Woita held a conference call to brainstorm ways to help local retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the Wahoo area as they weather the pandemic. Limitations on the number of people who can be together in one public place are having an effect on the community, especially self-employed entrepreneurs, Klein said.
“We want to help make sure they’re here at the end of this current time we’re going through,” she added.
The campaign highlights a different local business every day. That business generally offers a special deal for the day, Klein said.
To start the Rally Wahoo campaign quickly, they assigned Nygren’s downtown Wahoo flower shop, Found and Flora, the first spot on the calendar.
Nygren said she got a lot of response from the email message sent out by the Chamber to alert the community of the new campaign.
“Even before we were truly open the phone started ringing,” she said.
Nygren thought she had enough flowers in her inventory to handle the specials, which included $20 “Friday Flower,” but she was wrong. She ended up having more flowers delivered to fill orders.
Before the Rally Wahoo campaign started, Nygren had been using creative means to draw in customers. She had her 8-year-old daughter, Evie, demonstrate how to make an arrangement on social media. After that, customers asked for kits to do what Evie had done.
Nygren made eight kits and sold six in 30 minutes, she said.
Local restaurants have turned to creative ways to deliver meals to their customers, including Mocha C’s coffee shop in Wahoo.
As business began to slow last week, owner Carrie Fisher said she created “grab and go” lunch options last week so customers could quickly obtain a meal.
“That took off pretty good,” she said.
Last week, the most difficult part of the state’s directives was enforcing the 10 and under in public rule. However, for Fisher, whose café is small, it wasn’t an issue. Her customers seem to come and go at intervals that prevent too many from gathering at a time.
“I haven’t had to enforce it, it just happens,” she said.
Later in the week, the Wahoo City Board of Public Health adopted an order prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people until April 30. This action included requiring restaurants and bars to close their seating/dining areas.
That means Fisher and every other eatery in town can’t allow customers in to eat.
Like many local restau-
rants, Fisher is offering curbside delivery. It was something she had already been doing for her elderly customers.
“I emphasized it more and more and a few took advantage,” she said.
Fisher said she is grateful that her business has not been as badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as others. She said large lunchtime orders from local businesses also helped last week.
“Wahoo kind of comes together when it needs to,” she said.
Fisher plans to become a part of the Rally Wahoo campaign. To do so, she and other businesses should contact Woita by email at email@example.com.
Klein said business owners are optimistic even during these tough times, reporting to her that customers are buying gift certificates as a way to support their establishments.
“Each of us needs to help each other,” she said.