Representatives of many Huntington businesses that fought through the Covid-19 epidemic to survive took part Tuesday in the Seaside Soiree, an annual Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce event at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport.
The evening was an opportunity for chamber members, business leaders, and elected officials to mingle and network and talk about their businesses.
One of the participants was Six Harbor Brewing Company. According to employees Frank Paone and Joe Van Wie, once the Covid pandemic hit in March 2020, they had to resort to take out and deliveries only.
They added “doggy deliveries” during the epidemic shutdown, with the owners’ dogs accompanying them on deliveries and interact with customers. The dogs proved popular and increased orders.
Financially, Paone said the business “took a hit, but made it through” and “were able to improvise.” In June of 2020, once the state allowed a limited reopening, modifications were made to the brewery so that people could attend safely. They increased the amount of space in between tables, added outdoor seating, and gave people the “ability to open and close their own tab from their table for social distancing purposes” according to Van Wie.
Throughout the pandemic they were able to get by without having to lay off any employees, and the owners currently have plans to expand to the second floor with a whiskey/spirits bar. The business expects to add a second floor bar by this fall.
John’s Crazy Socks, which sells “fun and crazy socks,” also attended with John Cronin, who has Down Syndrome. The business is located in Melville and it sells socks to people all over the country.
Even though all of their sales were conducted online before the pandemic, John’s Crazy Socks were still affected financially once Covid hit because in-person speaking engagements were canceled, hindering their ability to promote their business. According to Carol Cronin, John’s mother, sales suffered considerably and she estimates they lost from $250,000 to $500,000 in revenue.
Significant changes were also made to the warehouse once the pandemic began. In March of 2020, all staff members were given six weeks paid time off. When they returned there was social distancing, staggered shifts, covid screening, and mask wearing all in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
Bottles and Cases, at 99 E. Main St., Huntington, was also in attendance. According to employee Peter Yelle, the pandemic didn’t hurt their business at all, in fact sales increased during the lockdown in 2020.
For the first few months during Covid, the store operated using only curbside pickup. In June of 2020, in store shopping resumed and they also began deliveries. According to Yelle “deliveries are now one of our strongest features.”
The store doesn’t have any major developments unfolding in the near future, but they plan to “continue doing well.”