AUSTIN, Texas - Officials have issued orders to shut down businesses and restaurants in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the effect has been devastating for both business owners and their staff.
One of them is Stephanie Coultress O'Neill who owns the clothing store Estilo in Tarrytown on Exposition Boulevard.
FOX 7 Austin visited with O'Neill at her store before the mandatory stay-at-home order was put in place and the doors of the store were still open.
"First and foremost I worry about the health and safety of everyone from my family, my parents, my kids and then my clients. That's the scariest part of all. This doesn't have to do with financial this has to do with the health and safety of the people we all love," O'Neill says.
O'Neill has been an Austin business owner for more than 15 years. She's been through hardship before, having survived the 2008 recession.
"So it's just crazy. You think you've experienced the worst and then here we go again," O'Neill says.
She believes the silver lining is that there are still some people who can afford to shop and support small businesses. O'Neill is turning to the internet to meet the needs of her clients.
Here's her advice to other small business owners. "We have to get creative where we have to think outside of our box," O'Neill says. "We have to think outside of the customers coming to us. We have to go to them at this point."
O'Neill says they're fortunate to have their website which she says is 'a really good website.' She says it's very useable and very e-commerce friendly and that's why she's really promoting it for her clients in the U.S. by offering free shipping and free returns.
"I think that's kind of the future everyone is going to go online or have something shipped to them whether that's contacting your business...to bring it to you or to ship it to you," O'Neill says.
And during these troubling times, she is asking only one thing from Central Texans.
"If your paycheck is staying the same (and) if you're able to support us in any way please please help us out because ours is not and we really need anyone if you need anything that we offer please consider shopping local first," O'Neill says.
You can check out Estilo's website here.
Estilo has been frequently featured in the Trendy Tuesday segment on Good Day Austin. Many other local businesses that have been featured in segments are also needing support at this time.
Links to those businesses can be found below:
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.