Badawang Art & Your Inner Tranquility

Nomination from Kelley Addessa

When the pandemic hit, much of the world had lost its peace of mind. People everywhere felt the heavy weight of confusion, fear, and grief. As shops all around the world closed, business owners had to adapt to our new virtual life. Prior to the pandemic, Carol Schoffmann, owner of Badawang Art and Your Inner Tranquility, had been helping and guiding residents of Union County through her work as a Certified Healing Sound Practitioner, Certified Reiki Master/Teacher, Certified Meditation Teacher and Intuitive Spiritual Guide. Carol offers group meditation classes, reiki training, personal reiki healing sessions as well as Himalyan singing bowl sessions. Her home base, Badawang Art, is filled with treasures such as genuine crystals, Himalayan singing bowls, unique artwork, beautiful jewelry and clothing, essential oils, home decor, and so much more. Everything about Carol, her shop, and her healing work is absolutely magical.

Carol’s customers and clients felt a loss when they could no longer attend meditation, receive reiki healing or just stop into her store to shop for new treasures and have a chat with Carol. Within the first week or two of the pandemic Carol began to offer virtual meditations with singing bowls via Zoom twice a week. These meditations have been a gift to her Union County customers (and virtual customers around the country!) as they gave a sense of peace, relaxation, and calmness in a very unpredictable time. During the meditations, Carol was able to share her wisdom and light on all who attended.

Additionally, Carol continued reiki healing and reiki training virtually as well as creating a brand new online course exploring the chakras and the crystal associated with them. What started as a 6-week course, has catapulted into months of virtual learning in a community setting. Online orders were able to be made for in store products, and eventually Carol opened the store under proper COVID-19 protocol. As the world begins to heal, Carol is able to resume in person sessions. Her clients are thrilled to visit the store in person, but they will never forget the work Carol did to create a safe, happy and peaceful space for them to go during such unprecedented times

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story of small business survival during the time of COVID19 2020- 2021. I had to close the physical location of Badawang Art and Your Inner Tranquility at 37 Maple Street, Summit, NJ on March 14, 2020 due to the virus. My business at that time was done all in person. I had to close the physical store for three and a half months. Upon reopening, it continued to be very quiet until May of this year.

Like many people, I began to offer my services online. For the Badawang Art retail, I offered free shipping and curb-side pickup. Phone consultation was always available but most people were shopping on Amazon. I had to get creative. Most of what I did for this past year was for Your Inner Tranquility.

I had no experience with working remotely before COVID. I had never been on a Zoom meeting and didn’t know how to offer one either. I began creating regular guided meditations with sound healing on Zoom three evenings a week. This service is still going strong. It’s called “Take A Break & Meditate”. It’s now every Tuesday and Thursday evening. I began teaching my usual in-person Reiki classes remotely on Zoom.

This turned out to be wonderful and I created a workshop on Zoom that is still going strong, that is part meditation, part learning and part community. I also started offering my Reiki services at a distance. I kept hearing from people that the meditations, classes and all other services were helping people immensely.

I heard that they were literally “saving “people from deep depression and helping with anxiety. When we were all at home, isolated and wearing masks if out in public, the meetings and meditations on Zoom, offered a place to be mask less, be seen and heard in a likeminded community. The meditations helped people stay centered and deal a little bit better with the fear and uncertainty we were all going through.

They were geared to what was going on with us collectively and helped me as well. I donated my time and offered many meditations for free. I made myself available to any of my clients who just needed to talk or needed reassurance. I am grateful for all that I learned and for all the people who supported my business then and now.

Bativia Cafe

Nomination from The UPS Store of Summit

Batavia Cafe is a small business that went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic. They offered grocery delivery service when they were shut down to help those who needed it via Store2Door. They also participated in FLAG of Summit’s efforts to provide meals to front line workers at Overlook Hospital. Overall, they put the community before their own business.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

When the pandemic started in March 2020, our revenue went down dramatically, and we were forced to close our doors. We were immediately concerned with our employees’ and our own capacity to earn a living.

We realized that even though our customers did not come and order food from our restaurant, they still need to eat! From our own experience, it was extremely difficult to shop groceries online and too stressful to go to grocery stores. We pivoted our restaurant and started “Store2Door” in the beginning of April 2020 to serve the needs of our community.

Store2Door was an online grocery delivery service that delivers to residents in Summit, Chatham, New Providence, Short Hills and Madison. We were different than typical online services because even though we have limited selections, we have all essential foods and household items, and we guaranteed the delivery within 24 hours. Something that other national online grocery stores could not do at the time. What we do were essentially buying the household items from our food vendors, Costco, Restaurant Depot, and even Shoprite and Kings, placing the items online, and delivering them to our customers’ door. It turned out to be a successful service as it helped many people who were concerned about going out to shop or actually had members in the family with compromised immune systems.

In addition to groceries, we offered homemade Ready to Bake foods which allow customers to serve dinners to their families effortlessly. All they need to do is to an online order from Store2Door, place the Ready to Bake foods in the oven, and delicious and healthy dinners are served.
Having a majority of customers working home also made us think of another project. In July 2020 we created Batavia Lunch Club.

his program allows customers to place weekly standing order, and their order will be delivered automatically for free with a very low minimum of $10. This program proved to be very popular too because it serves what customers’ needs.

Store2Door managed to support our and our key employees’ families during the pandemic. As restaurants in NJ were allowed to serve outdoor and indoor, we started to get busy again last summer. We finally stopped Store2Door grocery delivery business last summer so we can focus back to our core business as a restaurant. Currently our business continuously grows and is very close to be back to pre-pandemic levels.

Ready to Bake items and Batavia Lunch Club are still in demand, so they will continue to complement our core business. All in all, we are in a good position as a business.

Brownie Points Bakery

Nomination from The UPS Store of Summit

Despite needing business for their bakery during the pandemic, Brownie Points Bakery put their community around them to help those in need.

They went above and beyond to give back during a hard time such as the COVID-19 pandemic. When they were having their own financial needs, they stepped up.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

We added a curbside pickup and delivery option to our customers. We offered individually packaged items. We partnered with FLAG Summit to support local first responders. We made frequent donations of cookies, cupcakes and muffins to Overlook and other hospitals.

Additionally we have a customer who is an ER doctor at Columbia Presbyterian and we made food donations to the nurses. We we’re able to maintain our full staff through most of the pandemic.

Serra Restaurant

Nomination from The UPS Store of Summit

Serra opened up just a few months prior to the pandemic (November 2019). They were brand new to the area and stepped up immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They offered meals at a discounted rate to essential workers during a time where their own business need their own business and funding. They put the community first.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

We opened our small family restaurant, Serra Restaurant, on November 1, 2019. Our family moved to Summit in 2016, and we loved the downtown area and wanted to bring some of our favorite Portuguese and Brazilian dishes to add to the wonderful diverse restaurants in our community.

We were so excited to meet many of our neighbors and wonderful people in town that came to experience our food. Then in 2020 we, like many other businesses in town, were hit by the effects of the pandemic. But through it all, we remained positive and grateful.

We worked hard to implement extra safety precautions, such as adding glass partitions in every booth, adding automated hand sanitizing stations and purchasing PPE for our employees. We also had to change our business from mostly indoor dining, to all take out, and eventually work on expanding to outdoor dining. We purchased necessary heaters, tables, etc, to give our customers the best and safest dining experience possible.

Unfortunately we had to significantly reduce our staff’s shifts to survive during the pandemic, and also at times limit our menu options to cut costs. Our Serra family was personally impacted when our wonderful Chef lost her husband due to the virus.

We recognized that this pandemic affected everyone in our community and wanted to give back as much as we could. We worked with FLAG to provide meals to the Front Line workers who were struggling to keep us safe, and also with Summit Warm Hearts to provide meals to our neighbors who were struggling without shelter.

We are very thankful to our wonderful customers such as Antoinette LaVecchia at the UPS Store, and our community that supported us and continue to support us.

Summit True Value Hardware

Nomination from Katherine Husveth (Incoming 8th Grader)

The family owned hardware store opened in 1978 and has NEVER closed since. It was open the entire time during the virus epidemic. The store supplies individuals, hobbyist, small business owners and companies with plumbing, electrical, cleaning, garden & home equipment plus power tools, building material and much more.

They are famous for helping individuals and groups with advice and suggestions. The store aided my Grandfather (deceased) in his antique RR (Caboose) restorations and he was able to get all his super specialized requests, when no other store could help him.

Now my Grandmother depends on all of her gardening material, as well as their expert help and suggestions. Their motto should be: IF WE DO NOT HAVE IT, YOU PROBABLY WON”T NEED IT. There is no store anywhere in Union County, where you can get the help and items you specifically need.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

Covid has been a tough time for everyone. We were extremely busy throughout, which was tough on us. We were very grateful, because many businesses were crushed by Covid.

We were able to supply our customers with a safe environment by masking up and disinfecting throughout the day. Everyone respected the social distancing and we also did a lot of curb side service for those who felt more comfortable doing so.

We were able to supply everyone with masks, gloves, disinfectants throughout the crazy Covid times, even when supplies were scarce. Donated disposable suits, booties, and masks to some hospitals.

We did what we had to do to help everyone out. We were just glad that we were able to help.

Sweet Nothings

Nomination from The UPS Store of Summit

Donna is always giving time and resources to all different types of schools and organizations to help others and the community around her.

She went above and beyond to support many people including many front line workers and other small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

When the pandemic hit, we were in the midst of the Easter season, one of the busiest times at Sweet nothings and a holiday we greatly depend upon.  It was such a hectic and confusing time and no handbook existed on how to run a small business during a pandemic. In order to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers, we pivoted our business to phone orders and electronic orders offering curbside delivery and free local delivery as well as continuing to offer nation-wide shipping via the local UPS Store in Summit. Quite often, we sent customers suggestions, photos, showed them product at the door or even did FaceTime calls for virtual shopping. We also restructured employee assignments in order to be efficient, meet customer demands and again, ensure their safety. 

One of the first things we did was to purchase gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning and disinfecting product. We took extreme care and caution in how we handled merchandise and how we conducted deliveries whether it was curbside or contact less home deliveries. Realizing how difficult it was to find these supplies, when we could get them, we would purchase extras to share with others in the community.  To this day, we continue with the same sanitizing procedures and have given away hundreds and hundreds of disposable face masks.

In the days that followed the Easter holiday, while our doors remained closed to allowing customers to come in, we not only continued to offer free local delivery and curbside delivery, we offered service on a silver platter to our young customers.  As kids were not able to come in and shop, we selected merchandise for them in order to give them choices and offered the items on a silver platter at the door. Sweet nothings has always been a fun and happy place so it was important to us to continue with that vibe especially for the children.

While our business did suffer and we did struggle (we are still feeling the effects and facing new challenges with our business), we never lost our sense of community. We have always been very community focused with the importance of giving back. We have always believed, and continue to believe, we are better and stronger together; we need each other. We partnered with the local FLAG organization to provide goodies for health care workers and whenever a customer placed and order, for example, for the local police department or first aid squad, we always added to it. We donated to various collections and food pantries.  Whenever we heard about a need, we did our best to contribute.

As schools opened in the fall of 2020, we did not change our stance on supporting our community.  We continued, and continue, to donate to fundraisers and school events.  We are a small struggling business and affected in more ways than we could have imagined by this pandemic, but we are all struggling and facing challenges and we still believe in supporting each other. Together we are better and stronger.

The UPS Store

Nomination from Micayla Mirabella

Antonietta is a true small business champion because of the tireless work she does for her community. When the COVID-19 pandemic got worse and worse, she kept the store running smoothly and efficiently. Being an essential worker was tough but she persisted to help the community.

She created lawn signs for the Class of 2020 and 2021 for the seniors who did not get a normal graduation ceremony. She also supported and encouraged frontline workers and other community members by advertising and participating in fundraisers, and food drives, etc.

Overall, despite the situation at hand, she brought brightness to so many people.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

Like every other small businesses, The UPS Store of Summit had to reevaluate and pivot at the beginning of the pandemic. Back when we thought that it would take two weeks to “flatten the curve” & we would be back on track- we changed very little… Until two weeks became a month and we were deemed an essential business, and had to figure out how we would be able to support our community & its needs.

On a Sunday morning in April , we received a call that the Overlook Auxiliary was looking to raise funds for an expensive piece of equipment that was used to disinfect rooms in just 20 minutes for Overlook Hospital. The machine they previously had was not functioning so they asked if we were willing to print signs so that they could sell them as a fundraiser.

We understood that by printing these signs, it was the Auxiliary that would be needing the funds. The fact that we would not be doing the job for profit – in a time when our own business was suffering- was something we had to think about. It didn’t take long for us to agree that this was a no brainer and for the greater good.

We did not anticipate our community coming through in such a big way. Because so many signs were purchased, the sheer volume of sales helped keep our own doors open during that difficult time, AND get all the money needed to purchase the equipment for the Hospital.

To this day, there are still rainbow signs on lawns throughout Union County. Whenever we see them, we think back to not only how scary the beginning of the pandemic was for our store, but also how our community supported us and potentially saved our business. We are forever grateful.

Zappia’s Deli

Nomination from The UPS Store of Summit

They fed 400 essential workers and their families (they made dinners for 4) so that they could bring full meals home to their families after working field work. They also made dinners for a local senior housing development at discounted rates. Because the seniors were unable to leave, go shopping, etc. they literally met the workers at a municipal parking lot to bring them dinners. They put these group of people first despite the need for their own business.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

Since 1985, Zappia’s Deli has been a part of the Summit community’s to always try our best bringing service and quality to our loyal customers.
Helping out our front line workers during the pandemic has been a very rewarding experience. It was our pleasure to give back to the workers who put their lives on the line.

Approximately 65% of our business had been through corporate catering to the local businesses. Since the lockdown in March 2020, our customer base was essentially non-existent and as a result, we were operating with only 35% of our income while our expenses stayed the same. We offered our regular menu, but we were required to scale back our daily offerings due to lack of walk-ins. We were very much aware of the sacrifices being made by the workers who did not have a choice to work from home, such as Overlook Hospital staff, the Summit Police Department, the Summit Fire Department and Summit EMS workers. We took great pride in sending platters of sandwiches and trays of hot food to let them know we were thinking of them.

Our entire staff showed up every single day for work. We were masked, gloved, and ready to serve our customers. In between the constant sanitizing, we would bring food out to the cars for curbside pickup for the customers who did not feel comfortable coming into the store. Non-contact deliveries were something that we had never dealt with before, but like everyone else, we learned quickly how to accommodate.
We are very grateful to our customers for supporting us while we were supporting them