The ‘evolving process’ of staying open


JOEL KEMEGUE, Evergreen mint editor

Editor’s Note: This article has been amended to update a statement regarding Brused Books no longer doing deliveries or curbside pickups.

On Monday, March 23rd, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order for all non-essential activities in Washington for the next two weeks. The rapid spread of COVID-19 already forced many Pullman businesses to change their business strategies, but with the order, many have had to suspend business or switch to online sales.

Brused Books was originally planning on staying open, but with the shut-down order the store has had to close its physical location. Bookkeeper Monique Slipher said the store is still receiving plenty of phone calls and emails from people requesting books.

Slipher said it’s been an “evolving process.” Books are still available to order through Brused Books’ Amazon and Abebooks account, though Slipher said those accounts use a separate inventory so a book in-store might not be available online.

Online sales usually make up 20-25 percent of Brused Books’ total sales, Slipher said. Like most Pullman businesses, the loss of Mom’s Weekend and graduation weekend have been a big hit to the business.

“For many of the businesses here [in] downtown, we’re just going to have to sit it out and hope that we can hang on financially,” Slipher said.

Slipher said the store is planning on reaching out to assisted living homes and arranging for someone to come pick up books for the residents. She also said she’s been trying to find a way to bring books to kids but that’s been difficult since Goodwill has closed donations and the Little Free Libraries have been closed.

PNW Halal Meats manager Ali Ali said that besides more rigorous cleaning, PNW Halal Meats has not made many changes. Ali said the store is sanitized every two hours and is working to keep clean but for now, they’re just playing the situation by ear.

“We’ll try our best to serve the customers,” Ali said “We’ll keep eyes on that and see the news, and see what we can do later on.”

Moscow Food Co-Op released a statement on the changes they were implementing, such as making pre-made salads, individually wrapping baked goods and making soup on request, closing the salad and cold bar, suspending sale of bulk orders and adding shields to the registers and patterns to the floor so personnel can stay six feet apart.

Marketing Manager Steve Corda said they’re also working on their curbside delivery system and soon customers should be able to place their orders online. He also said everyone working for Moscow Co-Op has been enrolled in AllyHealth, a tele-medicine provider, so they can provide some medical service through that.

“We’re constantly evolving as a business and a community organization anyway and this health crisis has forced us to evolve at lightning speed,” Corda said.

General Manager Melinda Schab said the co-op is adapting as new information comes out, and making changes based on what they need to do according to the information and what customers have been asking for.

Schab said the reaction to the changes have been overwhelmingly positive.
“Maybe two people have been unkind but this [situation] is really scary so we’re not taking it personally,” Schab said. “We’re just inundated with positive feedback … it’s overwhelming how kind folks are being for the most part.”