How one small business is not just surviving, but thriving through the COVID-19 pandemic

Community helping West Orange Creamery doubling, tripling sales

OCOEE, Fla. – West Orange Creamery and Soda Fountain owner Jo Eveland is crediting the community to helping her not just survive, but thrive through this pandemic. The shop opening just three years ago hasn't needed to fire or furlough a single employee. In fact, Eveland says business is hot at her ice cream shop.

"We are doing well, it's a crazy time, but we are doing well," Eveland said standing in her dining room which looks more like a distribution center.

The front doors are blocked by a sign that has a phone number for curb-side pickup and around the building is a to-go window with tape on the ground practicing social distancing.

However, Eveland has found an even more creative way to bring in business and that’s through the deliveries that have to have a minimum of $20. Eveland is also selling and delivering different kinds of ice cream kits.

“We are doing boozy floats survival kits and mimosa kits. Plus we are doing the ice cream social kits the kids love and it’s moving our transactions from $3 to $30, so it’s working out,” she said.

However Eveland said the only reason why it’s working out is because of the community. In fact, many of her customers who come in once a month are now coming in once a week. A local painter wrote messages on her window with sayings like ‘We will overcome’ and ‘We are in this together.’ Eveland believing that as she says her regulars are keeping her business thriving.

"Sometimes we don't see people for hours and then a neighbor calls and says 'Hey, we got 7 deliveries for you guys,'" Eveland said. "We are looking at double the numbers, sometimes we can triple them. By the Grace of God we are making it work."

One of those regulars is Jennifer Bohn. She spoke to several of her neighbors to put in those seven deliveries at an average of $45 each.

"When we realized they were having to get creative in their ways of reaching out and making sure their employees still had a job, the least we could do would say ,'Hey, we can do our part' and encourage others around us in the neighborhood," Bohn said.

Now, she's working on a bigger order for her entire neighborhood on Saturday.

"I think that speaks to the spirit of her organization and what she is trying to accomplish," Bohn said. "It's more than just an ice cream shop, they really are a staple and a family in the community."

"It's truly a miracle," Eveland said. "I mean we feel blessed."

Eveland has not had to apply for any small business loans however she is speaking with her bank just in case the sales don’t continue or if her shop will be forced to close.

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