More than 60% of small businesses in Mexico’s downtown square are owned by women, and many of them have been getting creative in an effort to stimulate business and stay open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early April, Gov. Mike Parson announced a statewide stay-at-home order mandating social distancing and encouraging people to stay home. The order abruptly halted activity in Mexico’s downtown square. Some businesses closed their doors for over a month.

It is not business as usual for many. Restaurants have switched to carry-out only, shops have transitioned to online sale platforms, and some small businesses are even working together to create buzz.

Alexis Burnett, owner of The Gift Bar, partnered with Stacey Conklin, owner of Stacey’s Place, to create a senior and veteran meal donation program. Starting in mid-March, for every $50 dollars spent at The Gift Bar, Burnett would buy a meal from Stacey’s Place and deliver it to a senior citizen or veteran.

Burnett and Conklin donated a total of 48 meals to people living in Mexico. The businesses shared their plan on Facebook and soon community members began donating money for meals and delivery costs directly to Stacey’s Place. Conklin decided to continue cooking and delivering meals once a week and has recorded nearly $10,000 donated to the program.

With positive COVID-19 cases on the rise in Missouri, small businesses in Mexico and across the state still face an uncertain future. This is how they have been getting by.

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