The Business Pivot: Meal Kits, Pop-up E-Commerce, and Drive-Through Produce

The Business Pivot LogoThe Business Pivot, a new blog series from Destination Medical Center (DMC), features local small businesses that are pivoting not just to survive but to thrive in the current economic environment. These businesses are helping Southeast Minnesota continue to access products and services while also making a difference in the community.

Forager Brewery

Annie Henderson, Co-Owner

DMC: What challenges are you facing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Henderson: Our biggest challenge is the uncertainty. With things changing each and every day, the team has had to adjust and adapt very quickly, and they are doing a wonderful job. Our goal throughout all of this has been to be able to bring back as many staff as possible and through the wonderful support of the community we have been able to bring back 80% of our staff.

DMC: How is your business responding to those challenges and innovating?

Henderson: One of the first things that we did was put together a plan to offer both delivery and curbside pick up for the full food and beer menu which can be ordered online.

We then created a #stayhome Meal Kit which includes 6 pre-made meals for 2 people (with an option for meat or vegetarian) that can be prepared in your home in less than 15 minutes. Instructions are included with each order as well as online cooking videos. Each week a new menu is created from our staff member’s favorite dishes as well as 3 curated beers which can be added on to each kit–hand picked by head brewer Austin Jevne.

We have also added the following items to our menu offerings:

  • ‘Three & Three’ Deal: 3 take and bake made-from-scratch pizzas paired with 3 crowlers/bottles of beer which complement the pizzas perfectly.
  • Frozen Pizzas: All of our made-from-scratch pizzas are also available as a frozen pizza which means you can enjoy a hot and ready one now and save one for later.
  • Curated Methode’ 3-Packs: 
    • Every Monday we now offer a new 3-pack of Methode’ Hop*Pop crowlers. This new line of sour IPA’s, otherwise known as HOP*Pops, features a variety of rotating fruits and pastry adjuncts, as well as hops.
    • Every Friday we now offer a new 3-pack of Methode’ Push*Pop crowlers. These fruited pastry sours are full of flavor and rotate often so you never know what wacky concoction Austin will create next.

DMC: As you navigate uncertainty, what inspires you?

Henderson: Our inspiration really comes from our everyday lives. What are our own family and friends doing, what can help them so that they have one less thing to worry about besides what’s for dinner? It all goes back to wanting to keep on as many staff as we can so we are continuously trying to evolve and create new opportunities during these uncertain times.

White Space

Sarah Miller, Founder

DMC: What challenges are you facing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Miller: We spend our time behind the scenes of businesses – primarily small businesses – helping them strategize, build, and create incredible brands. Because small businesses are fighting for their survival, we have naturally seen contraction in the market. Budgets are diminished or completely erased, despite the imperative need for innovation – now more than ever.  

DMC: How is your business responding to those challenges and innovating?

Miller: We’ve helped our clients with immediate measures, including online retail or adjusted plans. We created Gift Rochester, an e-commerce platform intended to infuse Rochester organizations with revenue. In a very short period of time, we collaborated with eight local retailers to offer kid-focused Easter Basket goodies that customers could purchase online and have in time for the holiday. More than 120 orders piled in and sales totaled over $6,600 in just four days. We are also offering Freebie Fridays – where we support a local business by offering our brand strategy, brand identity, design, content creation, or conceptualizing services for free.

DMC: As you navigate uncertainty, what inspires you?

Miller: We’re inspired by perseverance, community collaboration and plain ingenuity. We believe that challenges and adversity breed opportunity and creativity. This time has served as a catalyst for countless pivots. The silver lining we see – many businesses have already or are now recognizing the need for connection. It’s about helping over selling.

Rochester Farmers Markets

Jessica Joyce, Manager

DMC: What challenges are you facing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Joyce: For us, the identity of the market has been shaken deeply as we adjust to new ideas about our role providing food to people while social distancing. We have celebrated the market as a place for people to gather around food as a community, but it is critical to the health of all that we learn to work differently.

DMC: How is your business responding to those challenges and innovating?

Joyce: We are using a two-part approach, working with state and county leadership to remain open as a grocery store with added precautions and best practices that emphasize hand washing, conveniently packaging products, minimal contact and maximum efficiency. At the same time, we were able to mobilize a drive-thru/delivery system using products posted online.

DMC: As you navigate uncertainty, what inspires you?

Joyce: We’re fortunate in a time with so many questions and concerns that local food from trusted sources continues to be a critical need. We’ve found that the reputation and trust that our growers and producers have built is resonating with people, and the online sales/drive-thru with minimal contact has been a huge success!

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