Imagine it’s late 2019, and you’re heading into the new year ready to break ground on the business of your dreams. You have your team, the stock, the finances and curious customers looking to buy; everything is in the right place. Fast-forward to March 2020, and the world suddenly stops, halting everything you’ve worked on for an unforeseeable period of time.
It’s what thousands of small business owners around the country are grappling with in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of sales due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders have forced thousands of small businesses to temporarily close, or completely shut down.
But many small business owners, like the team of Timothy Shackelford, Angie Priest and Emily Prarat at Vevay Antique Mall, A Curiosity Emporium, are restructuring the way they do business entirely. By taking their business online, the Indiana antique mall has been able to survive the trying times brought on by the coronavirus.
Vevay Antique Mall, which hosted its grand opening on April 1 virtually via a Facebook Live stream, contains an abundance of antiquities, vintage items, period pieces, and all kinds of handmade and upcycled goods. The mall brings in vendors from the public to display and sell their items to customers. The quaint antique store began as a passion project started by the three founders, who all sensed the effects of the closing of several local businesses in the area.
“We didn't want to see another storefront go vacant in our little downtown shopping area. The loss of a small business impacts the entire community,” Shackelford said in an email interview.
In addition to helping the local economy, the trio also wanted to share their passion for all things old and curious.
“We all have a passion for old stuff and things that embody and spark curiosity. We're all creative and we like to refurbish, repair and upcycle items,” Shackelford said. “So with all of these we just thought it was a great idea for us to jump into it and get the project off the ground.”
But as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world, the Vevay Antique Mall had to figure out a way to keep their business and passion for sharing unique items with the community alive. So they decided to host their grand opening virtually, along with offering an online catalog album on their Facebook page.
“I think there was a little anxiety and stress over opening virtually, but with little options we just winged it and the response has been fabulous,” Shackelford said about moving the mall online. “The challenges and how we proceeded were very fitting for our group — our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. We've been very fortunate to have such a wide-ranging supportive community. People across the United States have shopped with us since our opening.”
Despite all the uncertainty, the team at Vevay Antique Mall is confident their business, and their town, will come out on the other side.
“Even in the crazy moments of a pandemic, along with trying to open a new business, the process has been very enlightening and we think it only adds to the mystic that is building around the Vevay Antique Mall,” Shackelford said. “We have grand plans on the horizon such as live music, artisan events and workshops in our outdoor community space to draw people into our river town to experience everything that we have to offer not only at our Curiosity Emporium, but in Vevay in general."
The mall offers global shipping and curbside pick-up at their location. Get details for how to buy via their virtual shopping album on Facebook.
Vevay Antique Mall, A Curiosity Emporium is located at 108 E. Main St., Vevay, Indiana.