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Small business in uptown get creative to keep cash flowing during pandemic

Two Charlotte business owners who work with dozens of other small business owners say a combination of grants are helping keep them all afloat

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Toni South and Christy Pope started CLT find four years ago at the 7th street market. It's a fun shop selling all locally made goods from 90 different vendors, everything from jewelry to books, beauty products, and even honey. Business was great until the pandemic hit.

"We closed in the middle of march and for a couple of weeks we literally sat at home thinking our business was done," South remembers.

Then the women had an idea.

"We just started posting on Instagram. If you need a gift. We were shipping a ton of stuff leading up to Mothers Day basically through Facebook and it just took off," said South.

It’s a good thing because the usual crowds and customers still haven’t come back to uptown.

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"Uptown has just changed and so we're just trying to pivot and continue to pivot to focus on online sales and building that piece of our business," South said.

They’ve won two grants that have helped one from the city of Charlotte to help pay rent and operating expenses and a second, a privately funded innovation grant.

"You have to use it to pivot your business to creatively find a way to function with the covid restrictions," Pope explains.

The women have put the money towards marketing and creating videos to help tell the story of their business and the 90 or so local vendors they work with.

Pope adds, "We feel very fortunate and very grateful and we are just very vested in the uptown Charlotte community and the greater community in general."

The women said they’ve also noticed an exciting shift in new customers, big locally based corporations, and realtors who want to support local businesses. You can check out their wares, CLICK HERE.

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