As our state slowly opens back up from the Corona shutdown, so much lies unanswered. Our stores at Village are now fully open with a plethora of safety protocols in place, but are those protocols temporary or permanent? In other words, is this the new normal?
So much of what made Village unique in the car business has been altered – we wanted customers to drop in, to stay a while, have some popcorn or a snack, interact with us – we tried to create a warm environment. Now everything is spread out, no more snacks, less decorations, less places to sit. We’re encouraging customers to do as much as they can remotely, so our personal interaction is minimized.
Sure things have changed, but our core business remains intact: people still drive, need their cars repaired, and every once in a while need to get a new vehicle. Maybe you never come into a dealership anymore – you buy your car via the internet and the phone and FedEx and have it delivered. Maybe you never wait anymore for us to prepare paperwork on a busy Saturday (we all can agree that would be a fabulous change!). But if this is all that happens, we’ll adjust. As much as we like interacting with customers, we will figure things out if these times last a year or two or even for forever.
We are incredibly fortunate that our business is functioning and that we are busy. We can’t imagine how hard it is running a restaurant right now. What is the model moving forward for a pro sports team or theater chain which relies on crowds? The travel industry is a downright barren place now and for the immediate future. What if you operate in a college town and you don’t know if the students will be back in the Fall or maybe well into 2021? How do you plan? The impact of Covid and the nation’s response to it is going to be widespread and will affect our economy for many years.
As we face what lies ahead, we must take a second to acknowledge those who helped Massachusetts get ahead of this awful contagion: the heroes who cared for the victims, and those workers who continued to do their jobs to help keep us safe and keep our world running during the pandemic. Thanks to the health care pros, the public safety employees, the amazing people who staff supermarkets and farmstands and the like, the people who deliver our packages every day – you all have our utmost appreciation and respect. While the world is figuring out the new normal, what is luckily not abnormal is the strength and competency and selflessness of the people who stood up when we needed them. This will continue to be what is truly “normal” about our Commonwealth now and in the future.