Like many small businesses now, Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro located on Main Street in Moab has adapted as a result of the coronavirus. Owner Cinda Culton saw a need and started a small grocery store in her storefront bakery within 24 hours to help supplement the Moab community with needed fresh produce, dairy and baked goods as well as other necessities.

“We were looking for an option that would keep us open and employing some of our team while giving us the ability to best help our local community,” Culton said. “Conversations with our US Foods representatives allowed us to quickly pivot into a grocery resource for those in our small town.”

To make the shift from bakery to grocery, Culton said their community is their greatest support. “First and foremost, our guests responded to supporting our efforts for purchasing groceries and buying from us in an entirely new way. Our vendors, landlords and behind-the-scenes community offered resources and support that were essential to continuing our operations,” she said.

“The banking community and our local SBA representative were continually in communication with updates, the latest information and general words of encouragement as we navigated grants, loans and financial needs. Regardless of how overwhelmed our local health department was, they were there to answer questions and keep us directing our efforts as safely as we could. Truly, the community support has always been in place here in Moab, but these past few weeks those networks are what has kept so many businesses alive,” Culton said.

She applied for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan as soon as it was available, and she is in line for her application to be processed. “The PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan was a different story as we were lucky to have the support of our bank and received needed funding to bridge short-term financial needs with their help,” Culton said.

She advises small-business owners to keep the dialogue open. “Talk with your team, vendors, guests and larger community. We have received so much support from unexpected sources by just reaching out and staying connected.  It’s been helpful emotionally for all our team and it has been an added resource for funding and support from our community,” Culton said.

But Culton and her team continue to face challenges. “But truly the biggest challenge is adapting. It’s easy to make a change knowing everyone is in need or having a specific direction in which to adjust. However, it seems like we are pivoting to a new need every few days,” she said.

Her agility has been tested, but she and her team are committed to constantly looking for ways to improve. “First it was grocery resources and getting supplies. Then it was managing cash flow and keeping current on billing. Then it became how to ensure our team was protected while supplying essential resources in the community,” Culton said.

Now they will start to turn their attention to how to bring people back and revitalize their operations, so they are the safest possible for everyone concerned. “The lessons we have learned in the last month will continue when it comes to our health and safety procedures because we have a new culture.  We have a need to do business better when it comes to cleanliness and offering a safe product,” Culton said.

Sweet Cravings Bakery is planning to add kiosks up front for a safer ordering process. They’ll update to touchless payment options as well as some other improvements. “For our team it is about continuing to adapt so that our guests and team feel comfortable,” she said.

Story furnished by the Utah District Office of the Small Business Administration.

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