The silver lining of Covid-19

By Randi Busse 

While many will be hard pressed to express such sentiment, one local business owner has created several silver linings.

Ian Duncan and his wife, Kathleen, founded The Grind, a full-service coffee supply company in Bluffton in 2016. Their goal was to provide area residents and businesses with the highest quality coffee and coffee service in the area. When the business relocated in 2019 to Sheridan Park, it gave them the ability to better serve the local community, providing a quiet industrial-style coffee shop with a decidedly hipster vibe. It quickly became a great workspace for local professionals. The drive-thru window would turn out to be even more critical to the operation of their business once COVID-19 roared into the Lowcountry.

If you know Ian and Kathleen they are unique and sincere people first. During the pandemic, many business owners were solely focused on their own survival. Ian and Kathleen reached out to other local business people and invited them to participate in a mini-farmers community market to help others make it through as well. Updating their website made it easier for customers to order online and eliminate phone calls. 

The pandemic provided a chance to make staff changes and realign employees that weren’t a good cultural fit. He started an incentive program to reward employees who bring in new business.

Ian and Kathleen soon realized how many silver linings they were able to create to not only sustain their business but also to grow it.

Ian and Kathleen utilized the services of SCORE SC Lowcountry throughout their business trajectory. SCORE offers numerous resources to local businesses that can help find those silver linings.

Three silver linings you can create

1. Website updates – Make sure your site can take online orders and has clear information about your Covid policies and business hours.

2. Staffing – Evaluate your staffing and job roles. Everyone has to pivot and employees can take on new and different tasks.

3. Continuous Improvement – Use resources like SCORE to up your game. Doing the same thing as you always have may not get the same results during and post-pandemic. 

Randi Busse is a SCORE mentor, customer service speaker, trainer and author of “Turning Rants Into Raves: Turn Your Customers On Before They Turn On YOU!”


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