Keeping Saxapahaw Alive, Coming Together at a Distance
Believe it or not, it’s only been about 10 days that the United States started really taking the Covid-19 pandemic seriously, drastically changing the way we live, work and play. China and East Asia have been dealing with this problem since late 2019 (hence the “19” in Covid-19), and it wasn’t well into 2020 that Europe and North America have been directly impacted in a big way, and it’s just been over a week that much of the United States realized the toll this disease might take on our own economies and population. It’s felt like forever, and we still have no idea how much further we have to go. Just yesterday and today, Mecklenburg and Durham Counties have issued stay-at-home orders, with Wake County following tomorrow.
Either because we’ve lost our jobs, forced to work from home, or just to drown out the news of the day, it’s natural that many of us have turned to solace in books, movies, and TV. Doesn’t it now seem so novel re-watching an old episode of The Office, that time when we could just go to work without fear, have birthday parties, go to restaurants and concerts? At times the economy was good, at times it wasn’t great, but even in the worst hours, we knew things would recover and return to normal.
Saxapahaw has nearly been wiped off the map before, and that was during a decade when the national economy as a whole, was pretty damn good. In the 90s, when cheap overseas labor and imports took an incredible toll on many American industries, the mill that was the center of the village of Saxapahaw went under, and left a huge hole where a thriving community once stood.
In this most recent disaster, our community has been absolutely incredible in coming together for ALL OF US. Our restaurants, grocery stores, artists, farmers, creators, musicians, makers, teachers, entrepreneurs have stepped up for ALL OF US, but we’re only at the first wave. People have lost jobs. People are going to continue to lose jobs. People have lost incomes, businesses have lost incomes. Saxapahaw is strong, but it is dependent on the world around it. The Saxapahaw General Store has so far fared pretty well because we’ve got the food, beer, bread, beverages, gas, groceries, a bunch of things people need all in one place. But in the past 10 days, we’ve seen a steady slowdown in daily traffic and income. People are being more cautious. They’ve already spent more than they normally would have on groceries and essentials. What if there is no Saturday in Saxapahaw? As annoying as the traffic can get, when all you want is to pop into the General Store for a sandwich or down to Cup 22 for some coffee, or you need a fill-up on detergent from Freehand Market, and there’s nowhere to park! How annoying! But all those people coming in town to listen to free music on a grassy hill in the summertime brings in a lot of money to the local economy. The weddings, concerts, weekend cyclists and weekday get-togethers, the Friday night date nights and Saturday morning adventure seekers on the river— that has built Saxapahaw over the course of 12+ years.
But North Carolina continues to see 25,000 people filing for unemployment EVERY DAY, and we’re far from out of this.
We’ve asked you to contribute to our GoFundMe campaign, and currently, we’re at over $11,000, which is fantastic, but still a ways from our goal of $100,000. That sounds like a lot, but it’s not a number pulled from thin air. That’s the amount the General Store is (conservatively) estimated to lose over the next several months. Yes, federal relief for small businesses is coming eventually, but no one really knows when or how much. It could be as little as $6000, which for a business like the General Store, isn’t even enough to cover basic operating costs for a month.
We have been working so hard to get store shelves stocked as quickly as possible. We’ve been filling up our online store so that at this point, we have about 75% of all grocery items in the store are also online. Please look there for something, and if you can’t find it, or if you have questions about other things you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to call us at 336-376-5332. We have a little bit of produce, meat, and dairy online, but most of those items are only in-store due to wildly fluctuating stock levels. You can also buy gift certificates as a way to inject cash into the system right now, and you can use them at any time.
Our kitchen is also working very hard to fulfill take-out orders and creating grab-n-go options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. See our menu online here for take-out options. We’ll soon be adding the ability to order limited meals online as well.
We’re working on ways to implement delivery, but we’re not there yet. Be patient with us. We’re also working to roll out delivery of fresh meat, produce and eggs directly from farms to the General Store later this week.
This has been a lot. This article, the past 10-15 days, it’s been a lot. But stick with us. We’ll continue to hustle to get what you need in this time of crisis.
Too long didn’t read:
-We’re not even close to the end of this
-Thank you for supporting Saxapahaw
-Please donate however you can to our GoFundMe campaign
-Please continue to order online and over the phone, including gift certificates
-We’re working overtime to implement new ways to serve the community at this time of need (way more online ordering, possible delivery, fresh produce/milk/egg ordering and delivery is definitely coming soon.
-We love you so much, you don’t even know