JERSEY CITY, NJ -- As part of our small business spotlight series, HomeGrown Host Stephanie Willoughby speaks with Kristen Scalia, Owner of Kanibal & Co., a lifestyle store in downtown Jersey City, who shares how she has successfully adapted business operations during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kanibal & Co. began online and has been a brick and mortar store for just over 10 years. The store features unique goods made by local artists and other small businesses. As a non-essential business, Scalia was forced to close her doors in mid-March, but pivoted back to temporarily becoming an online store in the face of the pandemic. 

Being a small business owner worked to Scalia’s benefit, and provided her with “the flexibility to make changes quickly. I didn’t have any other chain of command I had to go through, there weren’t any board meetings I had to sit at, I literally sat down with our one full-time staff member,” she said. “The two of us put together a plan and we’ve been implementing it every day since.” 

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As the crisis grew in New Jersey, Scalia contacted many of her vendors and suppliers and made arrangements to keep items in stock and negotiated extended payment agreements to keep the business going during the pandemic. 

“When we’ll open our doors again, when we can make those customer connections in person again, is still very unknown,” Scalia said. “We just don’t know where we stand so it’s been a little difficult to plan.” 

Though it’s an uncertain time, Scalia is still thankful to be a small business owner in this climate. “That is how we’ve been able to do this, because we’re a small business fueled by other small businesses,” she said. “Being a small business owner allows me a lot of freedom.”

To visit Kanibal & Co. online, go to: www.shopkanibal.com.