Covid-19 has caused a lot of pain in our world, it’s pushed healthcare to the brink, unraveled years of market gains, closed businesses, and introduced us all to our local epidemiologist. It’s also caused a lot of good, finding connections in new ways, recovering, inspiring, developing. Humans are known for a lot of characteristics, but I feel one of the stronger characteristics of our species is our ability to adapt, learn, grow, and to find a way.
So here’s a little story about adapting, learning, growing, and finding a way.
March 3rd - My business partner Marc and I opened our new business’ banking account.
March 11th - Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.
March 12th - My wife Kelly and I welcomed a new baby.
Mike Tyson is famous for a lot of things, this quote being one of them, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” (note my attempt of transition from new baby to Mike Tyson)
So there we were. Getting figuratively punched in the face. Kelly and I also have a 4-year-old and 2 year old - they literally punch me in the face. Not all face punches are negative (stay with me here). Some face punches can put you on a different trajectory...if you roll with the punches. The concept of will is often associated with perseverance and pushing forward...but I like to think of will as withstanding the onslaught, standing strong, enduring. The entire world was finding will.
Marc and I have owned a promotion and marketing company called Couptopia for the last 10 years. We founded that company coming out of the great recession of 2008. The businesses we promote are locally-owned service-based businesses like restaurants, hair salons, family attractions, services, and inns. Service and retail businesses were also the most negatively affected by the pandemic. Instantly our client base was wiped out - and so were we. With uncertainty, restrictions, and the potential of further spreading the virus..we pulled down our promotions. We encouraged our customers to support our merchants directly and let them know we’d find a way to survive ourselves. We had a vision for supporting local merchants and connecting people together even in ‘the new normal’. We would call it Enjoy Local.
Happy, home, sleep-deprived. On our 3rd time around, you’d think My Wife and I would be pros. Our first two children came two weeks early, but our 3rd was coming right on the scheduled C-section date, March 12th. I remember sitting there at the hospital reading about everything getting shut down. School, professional sports, events, everything. I also was unsure of when we left the hospital if there was any toilet paper left on earth for us. We didn’t have any family visit us. It was tough. This was before any mandates. So we had to ask our closest loved ones to stay home when we wanted more than anything for them to be there. Our little guy is 5 months old now and still hasn’t met his Great-Grandparents. Though, we’re hoping to soon!
Marc and I were both now working from home with our families (our children occasionally let us work). There is a lot of mental bandwidth required to create a new company. It took us one week of constant back and forth to finalize our logo. Fear, uncertainty, and sleep deprivation are not good for imagination, confidence, and progress. But we battled through and are happy to be on the other side now.
As the Covid numbers have dropped and stayed relatively low in NH, I started getting back to ‘normal’ as of June 15th. We continued making progress on Enjoy Local and it officially went live on July 27th. We’re happy to have shipped NH made goods as far as Ohio, Georgia, and Florida so far! Our first sale was a daughter sending a box to her mother in Ohio.
We brought our little guy home on March 15th. He’s not so little anymore and the summer is fading to fall. I feel momentum and progress with my family and our businesses as we’ve adapted. We don’t get this time back when the kids are little. You also don’t get some opportunities back either. I’m happy to say Enjoy Local was born when it was needed most, to support local merchants and connect people together. I'm thankful for the opportunity.