The pandemic has hit local shops incredibly hard, but an online group is helping some Green Country small businesses thrive despite COVID-19. One owner tells News On 6, she isn’t sure her business would have survived the last year if it weren’t for the support she received through the Facebook group.
"As a small business owner, especially a family business, it is make or break every day, every single day," said Rustic Pup’s Tabitha Taylor.
When COVID-19 hit Green Country in March of last year, small business owners in Oklahoma needed to find a way to survive.
"We are starting a brand-new company, brand new,” Taylor said. “We have not even been in business for three months and the pandemic hits.”
Diane White created the Stand Up to COVID-19 Facebook Page.
"I just kept hearing my mom's voice," said White. “She was a big believer in, ‘when you are scared, and you are lonely, and you are heartbroken or whatever, the minute you help somebody else you start forgetting your issues.’"
What started as her simple way to help in a situation that felt completely out of her control, became a place more than 30,000 people have flocked to, to find a local spot to support or to support their own business.
“It has kept us open, 100%. Without the Facebook page I honestly don't know if we would still be open," said Taylor.
Taylor started her business Rustic Pup in January of last year.
"We make functional pet furniture- we eliminate the eye sore of the standard, ugly, wire dog crate and actually make it a piece of functional furniture for your home," said Taylor. "The support from the community has just been overwhelming.”
The group has created a community of people looking to hire small business owners like Greg Fuller with Forest Wood Floors.
"This is a Rustic White Oak floor with Herringbone in the entryway. We are going to hand scrape it today," said Fuller.
Fuller has been recommended for several jobs on the page.
"We bring those floors to life, it is fun to do," said Fuller. “I love people, I really think I am in the people business. Yes, we offer a service, but I make friends everywhere I go. We love what we do."
He can reach out directly to possible clients and recommend other local businesses that he knows do great work. The page has become a lifeline for some local businesses to thrive and for the community to come together.
"It really, literally makes me want to cry. In a good way because yeah, it was so scary for all of us. I am just a big believer that you get back what you put out there," said White. “I brought people together, but it was all those people who came to the group that made this happen."