LUBBOCK, TEXAS — Lubbock businesses like bridal shops and catering companies have been completely uprooted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, business owners shared how they have taken measures to stay afloat during these challenging times.
“We’ve gone to appointments only,” said Bella’s Bridal and Prom Manager Brianna Hagerman. “Bella’s has been open for 22 years and they have never gone to appointment only.”
Event planners everywhere had to significantly adjust how they conduct business since the pandemic hit.
Brides had to completely restructure how they wanted their weddings to look and who they wanted to be there, while prom and bridal stores switched primarily to appointment-only businesses.
Bridal shops like Bella’s Bridal and Prom said they have done only a third of the business they typically do by this time of year.
“The quality of service we give customers is going to be our first priority,” said Hagerman. “So everything else behind the scenes has to take a cut and unfortunately it’s the owners and everything else that takes the cut.”
Store management also said that it will take them years to recover from the business lost due to the pandemic – the costs of running the business go far beyond electricity and rent.
“In two months I’m going to have to go buy new prom dresses, but I still have a room full of prom dresses,” said Hagerman. “So just because people didn’t buy them doesn’t mean my vendors aren’t still asking me to buy more dresses. You want something that’s new and hip and I want to provide that for girls.”
Catering companies have also taken a hit. Lubbock companies, like catering service Heart and Soul Cuisine, have relied largely on college and high school events for a significant amount of their business over the years. Now, with those cancelled, they’ve been trying to stay in business by selling smaller, more restaurant style meals.
“We’ve lost at this point over $95,000 in events,” said Heart and Soul owner Jessica Murray. “Either in rescheduling of events or a drastic reduction in guests for events.”
While many places learned to adapt to this new normal, the shift has not been easy. For brides who have anticipated their wedding day practically their entire lives, making plans during the middle of a pandemic has been a very unusual experience — to say the least.
“It’s just really scary not knowing,” said bride-to-be Keyna Dailey. “Coming to find my dress, I planned on having my best friend and my parents and all of my sisters come. But today it was just me, my grandfather and my little sister, so it was really hard.”
Both business owners said that while these times have been challenging, they hope that soon enough, we will all get through this together.