Local Business Adapts And Thrives During COVID-19

Photo Credit: The Nourish Spot

By Rachel Dalloo

With the spread of COVID-19, many restaurants have eliminated the dine-in option for customers as they follow social distancing guidelines. The Nourish Spot, like others, follows in this step to continue to provide contactless service for consumers as its owner and employees work to keep the small business afloat. 

“There is no longer any customer or food delivery driver entry in our store’s doors,” said Dawn Kelly, the owner. “We only supply curbside pick-up by customers and food delivery drivers alike. Our reliance on food delivery app partners has increased exponentially.”

The Nourish Spot, a South Jamaica business which opened in 2017, features healthy foods such as smoothies, salads, soups and sandwich wraps. And for the customers at the Spot, Kelly said the business had to change its habits on handling everyday orders as they take extreme precaution with new priorities on the line. 

“Each and every day, the Spot is wiped down with germicidal bleach, including wiping off faucet handles, counters, doorknobs etc. with disinfectant wipes,” Kelly said. “As a normal and customary practice, all employees, including myself, wear gloves when preparing food and handling cups, etc. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now also wear masks while in store and especially when preparing customer orders.”

For Kelly, business at the Spot is still booming despite the pandemic. 

“I believe this pandemic has impressed upon the community at-large the need to eat and drink healthier,” She said. “As a result, we have actually realized an increase in business.  Customers are purchasing more garlic, ginger, turmeric and wheatgrass shots, customizable salads and natural juice blends, like Nourish, our signature juice blend.”

Unlike many restaurant owner during this epidemic, Kelly is being optimistic about the fate of her small business during and after the lockdown. 

“The pandemic has caused me to pray way more often — for my children, my family, my customers, vendors, the community at large, my friends and of course, myself, than I used to,” Kelly said. “I spend way more time promoting the business in as many ways possible. I also try not to worry and stress over things because worrying can’t fix anything.  I try to relish my rest whenever I can spend uninterrupted time taking care of me.”

Kelly spent decades in corporate communications in places ranging from director of Public Relations at York College from for five years to Prudential Financial Inc, an insurance and finance giant for approximately 16 years. 

After trying to recovering from her job loss in 2016, Kelly said she took her free time to travel and catch up on readings books to encourage her to find the right job again.

“I still hadn’t yet committed to founding a business because I was still taking interviews for corporate executive roles,” Kelly said. “But one afternoon, after walking out of an interview, I was blessed to view a CNN segment about a juice bar in Yonkers established by the rapper Styles P which inspired me to pursue a similar path.”

Kelly keeps the business family-based and uses her experience in the communications and marketing industry to promote the business. Her daughter, Jade Duncan is the COO of the business and as a chef by trade, develops the flavor combinations of the food and drinks. Her son, Owen, developed the business’ logo. 

“Our menu is different,” said Kelly. “We don’t offer anything fried or cooked other than soups in the winter months and we heat wraps upon request by customer. Our fully customizable menu is prepared from fresh fruit and vegetables sourced almost daily by myself. We don’t use any dairy based products except a store-bought ranch dressing.  All of our other dressings are prepared in store.” 

Kelly said she has been a longtime fan of healthy juices and she wanted her community to understand the benefits of healthy eating. So, she decided that a healthy restaurant was just what the community needed. Kelly has high hopes that her business will leave a mark on her community. 

“We want the business to stand as a beacon of light, health and wellness for our community and beyond,” Kelly said. “Since we are and have been residents of the actual community, we want our immediate community residents to see us as symbols of what can be accomplished with determination, savings and teamwork. We also want to viewed as a champion of health and wellness and opportunity for community at large.”

Students and first responders from York College can receive 10% off their order, when they show their ID at the checkout.

You can check out the local business on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @TheNourish Spot or on their website

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