Pacos Truckee Supports Locals by Offering Pickup-Delivery Service
On March 16, Russell Hamby, owner of Pacos Truckee, met with employees at 10:30 a.m. to gauge their concerns on the early, yet spreading Coronavirus. With everyone’s sign-off the crew resumed business as usual, until six hours of heavy foot-traffic led them to lock the doors early.
“We had 20-plus people in the store all day long, they were just bored. I didn’t know any of them or where they came from. Our town just got inundated because of the six feet of snow [from the recent storm],” Hamby said.
In the days to come he and his staff tried to allow regular customers they knew to shop one at a time and facilitated as many phone orders as possible – a stark contrast from normal operations this time of year.
“This is the time when ski shops start to build their cash flow; over the next month. It’s when you build those reserves back up after the ski season,” he said.
Strategic Pivots in Operations
Once the stay-at-home order was made Hamby called his team and told them to stay home. He created a small pickup and delivery crew with three employees to continue serving the outdoor enthusiasts of North Lake Tahoe at a time where everyone was stocking up to stay in.
“Kids are home, people need things. We’re not charging for most pickup and deliveries, that’s the service side of things. We’re keeping people’s bikes working and giving them an outlet, something to do. Our community can’t be cooped-up at home,” Hamby said.
The Pacos team is working to keep up with demand as they sanitize products thoroughly and make pickups and deliveries from a safe social distance. They also offer more products online, although sales are nowhere where they would typically be.
“My landlord has been phenomenal and I Was in contact with them right about the 17th or 18th to line things out. Not paying your rent isn’t an option but they’re working with me because they know I’m here for the long-term. It was hard to even ask because I’d just had the best first quarter I’ve ever had.”
Tips for Small Business Owners
Now is the Time to Ask: Don’t be afraid to tell people what you need.
“This is an amazing community and there are a ton of people out there who want to help. I’m the last person on the planet to ask but this is the time to ask.”
Community is Uplifting: There are so many resources in this community to help with all of the facets of this process.
“We all have our angry days, I had one recently. I reached out to a friend who helped me get out of my angry day and into my happy day. We’re in this together and we’re all going to get out of this together, you just need to ask for help.”
Stay Ahead of the Process: File for assistance as soon as possible, don’t wait.
“You need to apply for PPP because they’re going to run out of money really quick. The form process was pretty easy, the hardest part has been what is not very forthcoming – it asks for 2.5 times your payroll but doesn’t include if you’re paying health insurance benefits, so that has to be added in there as well.”
Looking Forward: We’re in this Together
With experience working on an ambulance and a retired paramedic firefighter wife, Hamby says they’re a bit more comfortable with the new normal than most, so they support others.
“I’m just focused on being a cheerleader and an advocate; being as positive as I possibly can,” he said.
For now, he’s doing his best to keep and pay all of his employees and preparing for their re-opening.
“When doors do open we will be busy and even if there’s an abundance of people to hire, I can’t go from 10% to 80% of business with all newbies.”
To communicate with his clients, Hamby takes advantage of their email list with around 6K contacts and their social media pages. He’s also made sure to be included on the Sierra Sun’s local roundup of businesses still open for pickup and delivery.
Looking forward, all he can do is plan for a huge loss in sales and revenue and know that things will bounce back, but they might look differently than before.
“I sell fun in the winter and the summer. I think that we’re still going to sell bikes, parts, tires, all of those things are necessities to be able to get outside and do stuff. People want to go do stuff and be healthy and be outdoors. In the future, mountain bike group rides might mean eight people are driving their eight cars to the meetup.”