by: Kara Dixon Posted: Feb 9, 2021 / 08:40 PM EST / Updated: Feb 9, 2021 / 08:40 PM EST V
by: Kara Dixon
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach business is crediting supportive customers and changes in business plans for how it managed to stay open nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic started.
Last spring, 10 On Your Side interviewed Holly Herndon, the owner of AR Workshop, when businesses shut down due to COVID-19.
“We’re a small business at the Oceanfront. We need people coming in to do our projects,” she said at the time.
Since then, Herndon says it’s been a long, hard year for her business. AR Workshops hosts workshops for people to create do-it-yourself projects, so they centered on people coming into the store. In response to the pandemic, Herndon came up with the idea to sell to-go DIY projects.
“We, in total, probably have done 400 to 500 to-go kits,” she said. “It’s been great because we’ve had [the] support of our community. We have great customers but it was hard.”
Now that stores have opened back up, the workshop provides in-person projects again. CDC guidelines are being followed. Herndon says they’ve hosted small birthday parties, private events, and workshops.
Still, the decrease in tourism at the Oceanfront has been another issue.
“I think it’s been scary down at the Oceanfront because tourism has been low. We’re in this area where there’s not been that many people walking the streets. You do see small businesses like us close. We all have small business relationships. We try to help each other out. When one closes, it’s hard on the whole community. When you have people coming to the Oceanfront, you don’t have as many people going out on the town,” she said.
While it’s been a difficult year, it’s also been one filled with lessons learned.
Herndon says being a small business owner has shown here that it’s important to have relationships with customers. Hers have continued to support her time and time again during the pandemic.
“This is not over. We don’t know when it’s going to be over. That’s something I realized, is we can’t do this without our local people and our customers,” she said.
AR Workshop is still offering to-go DIY kits for those who are not comfortable coming into the store to create the projects.
Herndon says they will also provide summer camps for children this summer.
“Having a creative outlet is really important. It’s art therapy. I’ve had a lot of people thank me for staying open. When they come in, they’re able to relax and be creative. Having that flow is really therapeutic,” she said.
To learn more about the business, click here.