As more cities and states across the country slowly re-open in the wake of COVID-19, the industry is reminded of the ways some businesses stayed afloat. Alta Mere, located in Oklahoma City, Okla., began offering online ordering options and recently re-opened for window film installations after it serviced its community by becoming a temporary pop-up pantry.
A pop-up store is a business that opens temporarily to meet customer or industry demands, according to retail business experts. According to Chandler Goodman, Alta Mere center manager and pop-up pantry founder, the experience was incredible and if given the opportunity, the business is more than willing to help its community again.
“We are no longer doing that [pop-up pantry] because Alta Mere, our window tinting store, has been allowed to re-open,” said Goodman. “The pop-up pantry had to unfortunately close because we needed the space for our ‘real job’, then John Crawford, [Goodman’s friend] had the opportunity to go back to Mississippi for school. It’s a big relief but we’re not out of the water yet.”
Goodman and Crawford were attending business school before COVID-19 began to impact the country, and didn’t want to waste their newfound free time, so the pop-up pantry began.
“The pop-up panty was an incredible idea and opportunity but two big things came up for us and business has been incredible since we’ve been back open,” Goodman said.
Alta Mere’s new proprietary service, affectionately called the Turbo Tint Process (TTP), which offers window film installations in one hour or less. Meanwhile, the business has been trying to enhance the overall customer experience by improving its wait times. According to Goodman, the waiting area is equipped with leather seats and everything from water and Coca-Cola to beer and wine.
“We all know that when people get things done to their cars not everyone has a good feeling about it because many shops don’t offer a premium experience, which includes being visually appealing,” Goodman said. “We started that [TTP] back in July with our online sales option, so in the time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we were still able to sell some window tint, albeit it wasn’t as much as it would have been if we had remained open, but still… we were able to keep a cash flow coming in when we were closed.”
The online buying option took off and Alta Mere customers felt more at ease when scheduling and coming into the business for installations, according to Goodman, who said “it was a blessing and what’s great about that is that once those customers purchased their window film, they were able to schedule an appointment for when we reopened.”
Currently the window film business is playing catch-up while doing about 20 window film installations per day. The company was able to keep all of its employees and has hired another team member, according to Goodman.
“We literally did that [online shopping for customers] so we can cover payroll for the week and now we have a two-week waiting list right after we re-opened. It feels weird telling customers there’s a waiting period because no one likes turning away business, but that’s where we’re at,” said Goodman.
So far its customers have liked the online buying option. “We thought, well if you can get your prescriptions online then why not get your window film there too,” said Goodman. “I think the changes we’ve made will help our business even more going forward.”