At the beginning of 2020, David Meeker was looking forward to a fantastic business year.
“We thought 2020 would be our best year ever,” said Meeker, the co-founder of Trophy Brewing and Carpenter Development. “We were feeling higher than we should have been.”
Then, the coronavirus pandemic happened. Meeker shared with us during a virtual Coffee with Leaders that the pandemic turned his world upside down.
“We were worried about our employees and our customers getting the coronavirus,” he said. “Quickly, we had to do the calculation of how we could pay our team without any revenue. We had to make hard cuts that would allow us to reopen once this ends. How do you best prepare for that? We had to let a lot of people go or furlough a lot of people.”
On the Carpenter Development side, Meeker told us that his eight tenants, mainly restaurant and service tenants, all were impacted.
Despite the negatives, Meeker’s attitude began to turn positive.
“Things are never as bad or as good as they seem,” he said. “That’s what this has taught me.”
Meeker and his partners took action. They started to “make short-term decisions with the long term in mind.”
“We have ramped up our to-go business and are offering a grocery store,” he said. “There is income there.”
You can read about Trophy Brewing offering free groceries for hospitality workers.
“We kept our managers on so that we could get reopen quickly after all this is done,” added Meeker. “We finished two projects, our State of Beer and Trophy on Morgan Street expansion, so that they will be ready when things start to open up.”
Carpenter Development also waived the rent payments for its eight tenants.
Meeker said these actions resulted from a positive outlook.
“Optimistic and persistent people run the world,” he said. “If you stay positive through this and can continue to pivot your business, eventually something will work. Your business will work for you and there will be a lane for you in whatever this economy eventually looks like.”
Meeker stressed the importance of business owners staying true to their values and figuring out ways to have their business operate more efficiently online.
“When we come out of this, it will be a new economy,” Meeker said.
He added that there will be opportunities in that economy.
We want to thank Meeker for his candid discussion with us and the insights that he provided for other small business owners.
We also want to thank First Bank, our series sponsor, for their continued support to make this series possible.
Please join us again for our next Coffee with Leaders. On May 5, we will have another virtual session, Coffee with Jon Hayes. Hayes, the founder and CEO of RewardStock, will discuss the impacts of the pandemic on his startup. Registration is open and we hope to see you online on May 5.