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Local businesses rely on virtual networking and social media to outlast coronavirus pandemic

Small businesses get creative to survive outbreak
Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 23:29:49-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Cake Girl in Tampa, like every other business in the hospitality industry, is rethinking how they engage with people bored at home following social distancing guidelines.

We first met with owners Kirby Lavallee and his wife Kristina before stay-at-home orders were in place. At that point, the couple was working on getting more cupcakes delivered and focusing in on to-go orders. Weeks later, they have changed their focus.

"Just some different fun stuff for kids to be able to decorate," Lavallee said. "Then what we are going to do is a competition where they are going to be able to film themselves making the cupcakes."

Lavallee said the cupcake kits are a great project for kids to do at home. It will include the cupcakes (already baked), and all the icing and toppings. Once the decorations are complete, Lavallee asking people to post the videos online to be judged.

"The person that wins the best is actually going to get to come into the bakery when we reopen, and it's OK for everybody to get back together, and they can spend an hour with Kristina and go over some different cupcake tricks, and they will receive a gift card," she said.

Lavallee also organized a Zoom video call with 25 other business leaders and two experts to help give advice and guide them through these unprecedented times. Their most significant takeaway— work smarter moving forward.

"This might be the new way to work," Lavallee said. "I'm getting five or six meetings in a day rather than if I was in sales I was only able to touch only two or three people by the driving time and all that other stuff."

The competition for the cupcakes starts on April 6th. The kits are available online.