LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Monkee's of Lexington has been part of the Lexington boutique scene for nearly a decade and their owner does not want the Pandemic to change that.
Owner Sarah Woodworth said the time of year she was forced to close her doors at her Lexington and Louisville locations to in-person sales was severely detrimental.
"As Kentucky stores, Keeneland and Derby make up, most of my year. So they're bigger for us than Christmas," she explained. "So, knowing what I had on order to come in for this the financial loss, but also knowing that I was not gonna have customers walking through the door to purchase what I did have on the floor was terrifying."
Quickly after news broke about the ability to apply for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, she did so for both. She said the PPP loan only took about a week but she waited on the SBA loan for nearly five weeks.
During those weeks she said she had "absolutely no confidence that we were going to get anything. And so, you know, being knowing what I had coming in on the books I just had to start canceling orders, which is, you know, really difficult to do because I know in doing that that I'm also hurting that company who's scared to death about what's going on so it's--it's a trickle down effect."
She said for now although the budget is tight, she is able to survive for another few weeks but she is not sure exactly how long before she will be forced to make larger cuts than she already has.
"Letting the managers in Louisville know that I was gonna have to furlough them, was one of the toughest days of my life. It was heartbreaking to me because I did not want my issues to affect them but it did come down to a point where we just, we could not sustain it any further," said Woodworth. "Some landlords are being wonderful and forgiving and really understanding and some are just saying, you know, this is, this is a requirement"
On top of the stress of keeping the virtual doors open using their social media pages and website, she went into her shop Wednesday morning on Clay Avenue to find someone broke into the store Tuesday night stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise. This situation added further to the feeling of vulnerability during an unprecedented time.
For a business model centered around customer service and relationships in addition to high-quality retail, Woodworth explained the heart of her business has evaporated during the past several weeks.
She said, "I think the biggest thing with our doors being closed is that we don't--we're not able to interact with our customers like we usually usually are so we're really making a huge effort to send people texts and, you know, give them a phone call."
While Woodworth and her team wait for the green-light from Gov. Andy Beshear to re-open to in-person business, they are using as many creative methods as they can to generate revenue. They are also preparing to re-open in a new world with masks and hand sanitizer a plenty.
"My biggest fear now is that the customers and American consumers in general are scared. We don't know what's to come," she stated. "All we keep hearing that this could, we could see a resurgence the second peak and are they are they going to want to shop when we do re-open? Are they going to be there? I don't I don't know."