Covid-19: how local businesses are adapting to the times

The growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to exert a tremendous amount of pressure on the economy, and most businesses are suffering as a result of the constraints imposed by the lockdown.

To stay afloat, many small and medium-sized businesses have adapted to the current economic climate by recognising new business opportunities, changing the way they operate, and diversifying their offerings or providing services that speak to the times. Here are a few local businesses that have taken alternative routes to navigate the crisis ... 

2 Selai & a Butter

Fast-food stores across the country have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but 2 Selai & a Butter in Soweto has again been getting its slice of the pie since the beginning of level 4 lockdown. 

While visits to the takeaway restaurant are not allowed by current regulations, 2 Selai & a Butter is helping its customers enjoy their top-tier kotas during the lockdown by making home deliveries that reunite the people of Mzansi with their favourite kasi treat, changing a long-standing practice of queuing at the store for a bite to eat. 

Some restaurants in townships across the country have also begun using the delivery services of companies such as Order Kasi to deliver food prepared with love and care to the doorsteps of their patrons.

Ancient Concept

The Ancient Concept store specialises in digital printing of T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants and beanies. The business has managed to position itself as one of the most recognised shopping outlets in Sebokeng in the Vaal by supplying the youth with locally produced apparel. 

In a highly competitive market where the latest trends are everything, they have seized a new business opportunity and managed to stay relevant by introducing protective masks that offer style and safety. The fabric masks allow customers to own the look in a variety of colours bearing one of the clothing label designs procurable in-store, or by giving clients a more customised option with personalised printing.

Life + Lemons = Lemonade

When life served lemons, Kathleen Wolmarans quickly accepted that the traditional approach to business would not benefit her company, Life + Lemons = Lemonade. She couldn’t afford to wait for the stay-at-home order to be lifted and the calm of normality to set in for people to visit the lemonade stands she used to operate at different markets in Joburg. 

“Most of my income comes from my lemonade stands at the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein, Victoria Yards in Lorentzville and the Green Market in Melville,” says Wolmarans. “One of my biggest challenges has been losing 90% of my income overnight when all the markets and restaurants were closed for lockdown.” 

Instead of being discouraged by circumstances, her creative juices started flowing and motivated her to harness the power of social media more than ever to promote and sell her products, which are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants that can boost people’s immune systems. “I’ve been advertising my lemonade and warm apple-pie drinks extensively on social media, and joined WhatsApp groups that have resulted in a few new local customers I can deliver to.”

Kathleen has also spent some of the lockdown period on her phone, practising how to use design apps that allow her to create visually appealing content for her business’s Instagram and Facebook pages, and maintain a constant presence that has kept her brand visible online.