Mission Possible: How Lebanon County Businesses are Adapting to the Current Times

During these challenging times, Lebanon County businesses have been forced to adapt to the current climate of social distancing and extra health precautions. For some, this has proven to be an obstacle that requires creativity and new methods of business. From curbside pick-up to online transactions, Lebanon County business owners have tackled the seemingly impossible feat of operating during a pandemic.

Swatara Coffee Co.

Although Swatara Coffee Co. temporarily shut down their in-store operations due to the safety of their customers and staff, they have rerouted their business digitally. If you’re in desperate need of a cup of joe, you can purchase a 1lb bag of beans online and receive them via contactless porch pick up. If you’re not a native to the area, no problem! Swatara Coffee Co. is shipping their best sellers, like Shoo-fly pie coffee, all around the world. Essentially, they’re “exporting Lebanon County”, according to Joanna Noll, co-owner of Swatara Coffee Co. 

Not only can you buy yourself some coffee, but you can donate a box to the wonderful healthcare workers in the area. The ‘Brew Box Donation Program’ allows you to purchase an insulated box of coffee online. The jug serves about 12 people and comes with cups, lids, stirrers, sugar, and creamer. Swatara Coffee Co. will set-up delivery to Wellspan Hospital or Hershey Medical Center, at your preference. 

For Swatara Coffee Co. it’s not just about sales. Creating a community online remains a priority for their business. Every Thursday, you can tune in to Facebook to watch a live stream of “Joe with John.” These fun 20-minute videos are interesting, informative, and an opportunity to seek a space of refuge during these stressful times. Learn how to make whipped coffee, how to choose the correct coffee system for you, and so much more!

Most importantly, John and Joanna Noll, owners of Swatara Coffee Co., want you to know how much the support of the community means to them. “We’re not going anywhere. We cannot wait when it is safe for us to open again.”

Carriage House Style 

Although shopping is a difficult task right now, Carriage House Style has adapted to make it possible for you to enjoy all of their wonderful products online. Jane Yorty, owner of Carriage House Style, says adding an online store was a huge goal for her business. “With the groundwork laid concerning the website and support of several makers to provide product for the expansion…we were able to pull it together fairly quickly with the current situation.” Carriage House Style currently offers shipping or curbside pick-up and orders have already begun to start rolling in with the launch of the new e-commerce site. 

Be sure to check out their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates and new product alerts! The website will only continue to grow with videos, a blog, and so much more.

Tweed Weasel 

Like many businesses, The Tweed Weasel gallery was closed by mandate. However, Tish Bachleda, owner of The Tweed Weasel, saw a need that she knew she could fulfill. “We saw how people needed masks for day to day needs — grocery shopping, essential office work, and more. As the coronavirus counts grew and the need for non-surgical masks increased — both by choice and then state mandate — we had already decided to make masks for immediate family members who might be vulnerable to exposure. Our oldest son and his wife are both postal workers in the Lebanon Valley, our daughter works in an animal care facility in Berks County, plus we have grandparents who are at greater risk. We made masks for them to allay some of their fears, and ours (as worried parents).”

“Since we had the patterns made, the sewing tools, and some of the materials needed, we decided to make more of the tie-behind-your-head-style masks (versus the elastic behind the ears style) and offer the service openly to the public. With posts on Instagram and Facebook, we got the word out, and we’ve been producing masks daily. More than 250 faces have been protected as of April 19th.” 

For $5, you can receive a hand-sewn mask via porch pickup or shipped via mail. “Our masks are in use at local insurance offices, the Lebanon VA Center, USPS offices, a children’s foster home, fire stations, Speedway convenience stores, homes and more.” If you, or someone you know, is in need of a mask, please contact The Tweed Weasel. And when the mandate is lifted and you can finally go shopping again, be sure to stop in their gallery for some wonderfully-crafted home decor.

Risser Marvel Farm Market

Like all local businesses, Risser Marvel Farm Market has been taking extra safety precautions for the sake of their customers and staff. Upon arrival, you’ll notice two stations inside of the market with a trash can, hand sanitizer, and disposable gloves for customers to wear while they shop. At the checkout, there is a plexiglass separator and tape on the floor to mark 6 foot intervals to encourage social distancing while shopping. 

Tina Forry, owner of Risser Marvel Farm Market states, “We’ve tried to make it as comfortable and safe a shopping experience as possible. We also realize that some of our customers do not want to go inside a “big box” store. Some customers are not able to get produce with their online orders from the chain stores. We’ve started selling produce that we wouldn’t normally sell this time of year to make it convenient and to offer an assortment of healthy foods.” Although you can shop in store, Risser Marvel also offers phone orders for curbside pickup with the option to pay over the phone.

Mt. Gretna Craft Brewery 

There’s no denying the current quarantine has its share of challenges for everyone—from families juggling school and work under one roof and people living alone to small businesses and local non-profits not able to provide their services. While it’s a time of uncertainty, it’s also a chance to connect in new ways.

For businesses like Mt. Gretna Craft Brewery, their typical ways of service and communication with their customers have adapted to the current situation. Allison, owner of Mt. Gretna Craft Brewery, says “Our Gretna Crew moved quickly with the news and made the best of how we could continue to provide comfort to the community and support others where we could.”

Mt. Gretna Brewery offers a weekly take-out menu and beer-to-go with a quarantine special so customers can still enjoy their favorite food and drinks from home. As if that’s not enough, they also offer free beer delivery (within a 10 mile radius) from 3pm to 5pm on Fridays, so their customers don’t even have to leave their home. 

And if you’re upset about missing out on the socialization and fun of trivia nights, they have you covered! On Thursdays, you can tune in to Facebook Live for a virtual trivia night. After you’ve filled out your game sheet, you can redeem it as a 10% off coupon for your takeout order through the weekend! You can also tune in on Friday Happy Hours to hear from the brew team as they chat about beer and more.

From virtual hangouts, online transactions, and curbside pick-up, it’s possible to support your favorite local businesses during these challenging times.

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