creative pivots

Tampa’s Creative COVID-19 Pivots!

The spread of COVID-19 has caused many businesses worldwide to creatively pivot to support their business financially, as well as keep their brand awareness. Some of these strategies have worked better than others, but, one plus is that these efforts have helped businesses actively create new content rather than going dark, even when physically shut down! 

Locally in Tampa Bay, we’ve seen some creative adaptation strategies that are worth highlighting. From Naked Farmer switching it’s farm-to-table fast-casual restaurant to farm-to-your-front-door delivery options, to Woodie’s, a shutdown car wash that received permission to open back up to sanitize essential workers cars, businesses in Tampa Bay are adapting to the new norm.

Virtual Events

Synapse is best known for its annual summit in Tampa each year; but has grown beyond one event per year in an effort to bring Florida Entrepreneurs additional resources during COVID – 19. Synapse launched monthly Libate & Learn virtual webinars, where they’ve brought in local leaders to speak about relevant topics such as quickly pivoting to a remote business model, government leadership response, and community innovation tactics. Their monthly Libate & Learn events have brought in 40+ local Entrepreneurs and given them a space to network, ask questions, and learn something that may help them survive through the pandemic.

Their monthly Libate & Learn events have brought in 40+ local Entrepreneurs and given them a space to network, ask questions, and learn something that may help them survive through the pandemic.

The Entrepreneur Collaborative Center of Hillsborough County has been a valuable resource for entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay area for many years. In the past, the ECC hosted weekly in-person meetings, lunch and learns, and networking events. However, they quickly had to pivot in order to keep Entrepreneurs connected and learning.

Their first strategy was to move their highest attended and most often recurring Wednesday morning new-business-pitch event, called 1 Million Cups Tampa, to virtual, offering people the opportunity to connect and build new partnerships. 1 Million Cups has been highly successful as a virtual event, and has allowed a larger more diverse group of people, including from outside of the Tampa Bay region, the opportunity to attend!

Creative Food Delivery

Naked Farmer is a locally sourced farm-to-table business that originally planned to open a fresh veggie-focused restaurant in downtown St. Pete in April. Due to obvious circumstances, they had to quickly pivot and recognized that they had the opportunity to deliver local fresh vegetables, so people can safely stay home but still eat healthily and eat local.

Their Harvest Box ranges from $37-96 and typically includes a half bushel’s worth of veggies such as lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, kale, zucchini, scallions, green beans, and basil, giving you weeks of fresh veggies to cook at home. Check out their online ordering platform to get you and your family a fresh Harvest Box!

In some ways, COVID-19 has generated brand new partnership opportunities for local businesses to collaborate and support each other, such as with the Brunch In a Box package. The Sunday Brunch box costs $25-$80 and includes products from multiple local restaurants and cafe’s, including MADE, Love Yourself OJ, The Blind Tiger, Bread & Roses Bakery, and LS Organics. They offer multiple sizes for delivery, brunch for 1, 2, or 4, bringing a Sunday Funday directly to your home!

After shutting down their dining room, The Barterhouse in Ybor City recently set up online pick up and delivery options for groceries and pantry items, plus $35 meal kits to-go! In an effort to support the community and provide home-cooked meals, you can pick up a Ribeye Steak dinner for two with sides, and cook them yourself at home. The restaurant is even offering groceries, meats, and vegetables delivered right to your doorstep. 

Other Businesses

After being shut down for the past month, among other local businesses, Woodies Wash Shack, an express car wash in downtown St. Pete, was given special permission to reopen as a sanitization facility for essential workers exclusively in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. It has been proven that the virus can live on all surfaces, including cars. 

Due to the cost of the equipment, Woodie’s is unable to offer these sanitization services for free to all essential workers, however, Woodie’s operates on a membership basis and is offering sanitization services free to members who are essential workers. Non-members pay $45, which includes a $30 car wash. 

Co-working spaces are feeling the hit from being forced to close down or minimize the number of people working in the space at a time.

In an effort to keep the community connected, the Rising Tide Innovation Center in St. Petersburg has pivoted to offering virtual round table events, launched a Brand Ambassador program to provide additional resources and connections to its members, and rather than cancel their monthly Member Town Hall; they hosted via Zoom, with a happy hour! RTIC is even offering a low-cost digital membership for those that are looking for coworking opportunities and resources.  

Do you have a local PiVOT story to share? We’d love to hear! Send your inquiries to tampabaygoeslive@gmail.com.

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