Throughout our Covid-19 Industry Impact series, we’ve explored how various segments of the blading marketplace have faired during these unprecedented times. While demand for skating has seen huge spikes, that same demand puts stress on an often under-funded supply chain, which impacts shops and manufacturers alike. Caught in the middle with less margin for error are private skateparks. These facilities, usually indoor, provide the very environment that health officials cite as most at-risk for virus transmission. Limited circulation plus elevated heart rates plus bodies exhaling equals health challenges similar to a gym, but with less predictable traffic patterns and the chance of injury at every turn. Given these unique and significant challenges, we asked friends at Rye Airfield in New Hampshire and Oso Skatepark in North Carolina to tell us how Covid-19 has impacted their operations. Read on to find out in the conclusion to our Covid-19 Industry Impact trilogy.
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How has your business been impacted by the shelter-in-place orders?
Rye: We closed our doors early, about two weeks before we were ordered to, and the reason was because our customers made the decision for us. We went from checking in almost 100 people for a Saturday session to just three in a week. We closed our doors on March 14th.
Oso: We collectively headed out to Pow-Wow. As the social and economic climate shifted during a truly amazing experience, we had time to adjust to the possible outcomes. Within a week of being back we put the sign up closing for an undisclosed time.
How was business trending prior to the pandemic?
Rye: Explosive growth, up 100% over the previous year.
Oso: Business was getting better. We are approaching year three, and camp was helping us stay afloat during the progression of building our business. The community started to really show up and different crews started forming. It was taking all of us and the family that formed to keep everything going.
How many employees work for the park?
Rye: Five full-time, seven part-time.
Oso: We have three owners: Brett C, Phil G and Chris C. Aside from that, the crew always helps fill in so we can balance work and life.
Have you been forced to cut back hours or employees in response to the crisis?
Rye: Our part-time staff are all high schoolers so with the switch in our schedule they lost their hours, but we committed to keeping all full-timers going. We worked for five weeks, then I gave everyone a paid week off without them having to use any vacation time for it.
Oso: Operation stopped altogether. It’s been mid-March since any business has been generated.
Are you able to supplement revenue through a shop?
Rye: Thankfully yes, we do home delivery, mail order and curbside.
Oso: No. We have shirts, and sell memberships for future visits. Thank you to everyone that has supported us during this time.
Has your business been eligible for any of the government relief programs in response to the pandemic? Which ones?
Rye: Yes, PPP and the grant.
Oso: We are eligible for a possible loan or grant, depending on our pending application. We applied for the grant but not the loan. At this point, we have been powering through some trying times before all this started. We don’t want to take more than what we need; everyone needs to stay afloat.
Have you had any difficulty accessing any of the relief funding from the government (e.g. the Paycheck Protection Program)?
Rye: No, we actually got in on the first round on the first day.
Oso: Super delayed response. We are one of many applying, it’s part of the deal. We are patient.
How have you adjusted your business to meet these unexpected challenges?
Rye: Outside of closing the doors, we cleaned the whole place, painted it all, re-organized our check-in area, and will be ready to go once we are given the go ahead.
Oso: Skating has kept us together. The community has really helped keep us alive and we see a future. Maybe building some new things, adjusting to the new social climate. We are here to stay.
**Link** –> COVID-19 INDUSTRY IMPACT: SHOP EDITION
**Link** –> COVID-19 INDUSTRY IMPACT: MANUFACTURER EDITION