Local businesses in Tuscaloosa and around Alabama were closing about this time last year due to the pandemic.
The decision to reopen has been a tough one for many business owners. Tuscaloosa’s Left Hand Soap Company remains an online-only and pickup business. Their shop has stayed closed to make sure they can keep producing essential products like soap and hand sanitizer.
Soapy Jones owns Left Hand Soap Company. She said some businesses have to reopen earlier than others to stay afloat.
“Each business has their own circumstances to measure and weigh. It’s an impossible task to make a decision on how to keep everyone safe but to keep a business open, especially if your business requires person to person communication,” she said.
Soapy emphasized that many local businesses have closed altogether or moved locations because of the pandemic. She said word-of-mouth marketing is critical for small start-ups.
“If you trust us as a company, tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your neighbors, tell everyone," she said. "That can be on social media, it can be in person, it can be in a phone call. If you believe that we contribute to the community, then let the community know so that they can be a part of that.”
Left Hand Soap Company has a robust online platform that’s helped it survive throughout the pandemic. A study by Moody’s Analytics and CNN ranks Alabama No. 5 in the nation when it comes to recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak.