Coronavirus: Springfield businesses adapt to shift in customer needs

Two Springfield businesses have adapted during the coronavirus pandemic to accommodate their customers by selling masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

“I think that one of the great things about this company is that we are able to help out any business,” Sean Anderson, an account manager at Business Equipment Company said. “We can sell to anybody and that’s what I think helped us adapt to this COVID-19 world that we live in now.”

Business Equipment Company, located on West National Road, transitioned from selling mostly office furniture and supplies to masks, gloves, sanitizer and other PPE during the pandemic.

Shonda Lindeman, the vice president of Business Equipment Company explained that they have a catalog that consists of 36,000 different items customers can order and receive the next day. The catalog includes a health care section that some of their customers regularly order from.

In the beginning of the pandemic, sales on PPE “escalated quite substantially,” Lindeman said.

She explained that she and Anderson arrived to the store an hour before they opened to get a head start on searching for PPE like masks, gloves and sanitizer. After placing orders, they would call customers like hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing homes to let them know what supplies were available.

“It was nonstop at the very beginning for sure,” Anderson said.

ExploreTAC expands to pet industry, will launch products on national website

Springfield Awards & Apparel Owner Rodger Daye said that he decided he needed to “reinvent” his business because he noticed that this year’s income was becoming “financially devastating” due to the pandemic.

“When the lock down and the virus started it kind of did away with who our market is targeted to, a great portion, because we deal with a lot of team sports and group activities,” Daye said.

Instead of selling mostly screen printed T-shirts and trophies, Springfield Awards & Apparel, located on East High Street, has transitioned to selling “create your own” embroidered masks.

“I have other business that I’m doing other than the masks, but the masks are taking up the majority of what I’m doing.” Daye said.

Lindeman explained that as the pandemic continues the market is changing. Recently, they have been selling PPE to officials coordinating the local fairs and schools.

“Who we are reaching out to changes according to what’s happening in our local area and the time-frame of the year,” Lindeman said.

ExploreSecurity National Bank gets new name

She added, “We are transitioning back to looking at more furniture and copiers and things, but the PPE items have been constant.”

Anderson said that the most important part during the pandemic has been communicating with their customers to find out their needs and “keeping as much available to the customer as quickly as possible.”

Daye explained that due to the cancellation of team sports and other groups activities, he has lost “thousands of dollars,” but “I’m coming right up out of it because I had all these other ideas anyway.”

Springfield Awards & Apparel is continuing to expand their customer base by having orders placed online from other states.

“I’m just trying to give masks a positive way to go,” Daye said. “We’re going to have to use them for awhile. If you have to do it, make it fun and have a good time with it.”

Business Equipment Company has sold 91,888 ounces of sanitizer, 46,500 masks and 1,516 boxes of gloves since the start of the pandemic.

“We have met so many wonderful people in the neighborhood and have been able to help them out,” Lindeman said. “It has been a blessing to us and our business.”

For more information about Business Equipment Company or Springfield Awards & Apparel, search for them on Facebook.