An Inside Look of the Effects COVID-19 On a Small Business

Kona Ice Makes Changes For Public Health, Safety

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Submitted Photo

Mrs. Lori Rewczuk working a 4th of July event in the summer of 2019.

COVID-19 has changed lives. As a small business owner, Mrs. Lori Rewczuk has to consider the safety of her customers and her employees. Mrs. Rewczuk owns Kona Ice franchises in Omaha, Council Bluffs and East Lincoln. When summer begins, she normally sends her Kona Ice trucks out to school fundraisers, festivals, parties and other events happening around the Metro.
“COVID-19 has made it more challenging because the majority of our business comes from events and different activities that happen throughout Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs,” Mrs. Rewczuk said. “All of the events in April and May have been canceled. They don’t need our services anymore and my whole schedule has been wiped clean.”
Since everything is closed down or canceled, and summer is beginning, Mrs. Rewczuk has nowhere for the trucks to go. She had to make the decision of closing down her business temporarily or pivoting to a different business model. This was a hard decision because of many factors that needed to be taken into consideration. Her top priority was to contribute to slowing the spread while still running her Kona Ice trucks.
“I had to reevaluate how we are going to keep our trucks running,” Mrs. Rewczuk said. “Making public health and safety our main priority, we have had to change many of our policies and procedures as well as evaluate how we are going to bring in income.”
Mrs. Rewczuk has taken many precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. She has closed down the outside flavor dispenser, has implemented stricter cleaning procedures, and is only accepting online payments, credit card transactions and exact cash payments. This is so no customer touches anything other customers have touched. She also has lined all of her trucks with Microshield 360, which is a new product that doesn’t allow any virus or bacteria to live on any hard surfaces. Before each shift, employees’ temperatures are taken, and they have to sign off that they feel well and have not been around anyone who is sick. There is only one employee in a truck at a time\; therefore, everyone is always more than 6 feet apart from each other. Kona Ice has also developed a new Kona Kurbside, which Mrs. Rewczuk has put into practice. Kona Kurbside is a delivery service that allows customers to order Kona Ice online and it is then delivered to their houses the next day.
“We have now developed a new Kona Kurbside application that is new to us since all of this has begun. We now deliver to people’s doorsteps at their request by making online purchases,” Mrs. Rewczuk said. “We will continue that after this is all finished. We will pick business back up whenever it is safe to do so and whenever events start happening again, but until then we will be as responsible as possible to help slow the spread.”
Owning a small business during this time has been a challenge for Mrs. Rewczuk, but she has adapted. She will continue to run her business keeping her main priority the health and safety of the public.