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Oxford Businesses Adjust to Crisis with Humor, Concern for Customers

Story by Annie Sharp and Griffin Demarrais
Broadcast journalism students
gsdemarr@go.olemiss.edu; agsharp@go.olemiss.edu

COVID-19 has had a major financial impact on small businesses, and Oxford is not immune. With stores and restaurants being forced to lay off staff and amend schedules, it is a tough time. However, business owners have had positive outlooks.

Owner of Cups coffee shop, Bryan Spillman, said he is doing his best to stay positive.

“Necessity inspires creativity. We are forced to try and figure out how to do business in a different way,” he said. 

For Cups, that means only offering drive-thru and curbside pickup of their products for now, but the hope is that this is all temporary. 

“We put a sign on the table that says the Berlin Wall,” Spillman said. “Because one day we are hoping that thing gets torn down.”

And humor is showing up in other ways at Cups. At one point, the shop gave away a roll of toilet paper with every purchase of their homemade coffee beans.

Different businesses are facing different challenges, however. Rebecca Colby owns Waterways Health in Oxford, which is affiliated with the Shaklee Corporation. Her business focuses on selling nutrition products and consulting on diet and exercise. 

“Even though I do work from home I often meet with people in person or for coffee,” said Colby. “It makes things a lot harder for everyone.”

Colby said she misses her customers and is concerned about what’s happening to the economy.

“Some people might be a little bit more nervous to get their products that keep themselves healthy,” she said.

Colby said that the best thing everyone can do right now is to continue to shop small and support local businesses.  

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