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orange juice and lemonade from mixon fruit farm

Small Business Getting Creative during Covid-19

| Brandy Harlan |

Mixon Fruit Farms is adapting

wineshelf in the store at mixon fruit farm
Wineshelf in the store at Mixon Fruit Farm

Our small business is getting creative during Covid-19. It’s all uncharted territory, and this time it carries more weight when it comes to small business than ever before. Sure, there have been areas where Mom & Pop shops have had to get creative, adapt, rethink and change with the times, but these changes are none that anyone would have ever expected to do because of a pandemic like Covid-19. So, how do businesses keep up?

One issue everyone from businesses to government is having is that the information is changing constantly, daily and sometimes by the hour. From the assistance the SBA is providing, to the banks being well informed and equipped to handle the new information from just the night prior to assisting the overwhelming business taking refuge in the Care Act, it’s enough just to stay ahead of the details.

Locally & for many years, our Mixon’s Fruit Farms Deli & Storefront in Bradenton, Florida has been a “come on in, take a load off, stay a while” type of southern company. So, what do you do when your biggest benefit is having guests see all there is to offer, INSIDE, a historical company celebrating 81years in business?

Employee ideas are creative

Some things we’ve been utilizing are our own employee’s ideas. We are only as great as they are, and we must say that when an employee’s ideas are at the center of anything, everyone performs better and gets on board. One of our amazing staff members Dustin has volunteered to do sign spinning at the corner of Manatee Ave and 27th St, letting everyone know to head our way and grab a bite, juice for breakfast or wine for dinner.

Many have said that seeing him is why they came to the store. Keep an eye out! We haven’t ruled out adding some more “character” appearances to the corner, to attract business. We’ve also added bright colored flags emblazoned with the giant words OPEN on them at the entrance that helps people know, we are here for you! Just another way our small business is getting creative during Covid-19.

Our Groveside Café staff has adapted new procedures.

Much like a mix of grocery store delivery and walk-up window, we are providing options. Our loyal customers have been taking advantage of our walk-up window and call ahead orders. The day often starts with the deli staff taking orders from other local businesses, workers, first responders and officers who need to stay in place and still be fed well.

We have a staff member, Kent, who takes precautions while still providing service, by loading items into trunks & shopping the store for everything from Fudge to Gator Jerky. He is quick and a bright face to see from afar when customers come to grab their essential items.

Our relationships are strong

cuban sandwich at mixon fruit farms' groveside cafe
Cuban sandwich at Mixon Fruit Farms’ Groveside Cafe

We owe a lot of our survival in these times to the relationships we’ve built over the years. Many local companies are choosing to carry even more of our products, from our friend’s at Duffy’s Burgers on Anna Maria Island, ordering more grapefruit juice than usual for their cocktails, to Chop Shop Meat shop, offering client’s our “Almost Famous” Orange Swirl Ice Cream, we truly can’t be who we are without outside support.

In addition to the partnerships we have, our employees are now utilizing Facebook Live, which is a feature on Mixon Fruit Farms FB page. We feel that person to person contact is always best, and what better way to do that but through Mixon Fruit Farms’ owners, Janet & Dean Mixon. They are letting our customers know that we are STILL here, STILL open and wishing them safety. And still a small business getting creative during Covid-19.

Staying creative to meet the future

All in all, it’s not about being creative in just one area or another. It’s about combining all the resources we have, internally and externally to create a buzz. It’s a scary time, however we have managed to go day by day, with a smile, continuing to evaluate as things change. We think every day, “what can we do to be prevalent and a business that others think of for their lunch, dinner & Orange Juice?” We trust that the groundwork we’ve done from our Weddings, Birthday’s, Tram Tours & Asper Bamboo, which were all things added to adapt to the citrus disease, are helping us. So, adapt we will, and always have, and we look forward to what the harvest brings throughout continued efforts.

Mixon Fruit Farms
525 27th St
34208 Bradenton, Florida
(941) 748-5829 34208

Photos from Mixon Fruit Farms.

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