Nevada County businesses innovate, use internet, delivery, curbside pickup | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County businesses innovate, use internet, delivery, curbside pickup

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

The digital age emerged some decades ago, but recently local companies have moved to the internet to continue operating during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to a long list of restaurants in Nevada City and Grass Valley remaining open via curbside pickup and delivery service, the rest of the local service industry is innovating to try and continue operations while still respecting the state’s physical distancing policy.

Yuba Blue, which sells clothing, jewelry, shoes and a host of other goods, almost closed temporarily during the pandemic. But store owner Lillie Piland-Robertson, who had wanted to create a website some time ago, thought now might be the perfect opportunity to go digital.

In a few days, Piland-Robertson’s boyfriend, a software engineer, built a website, which kept the store in business despite closing its storefront to customers.

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Using the U.S. Postal Service and curbside pickup, people can now order goods from Yuba Blue, which has not changed since the pandemic hit, according to the store owner.

Yuba Blue isn’t the only business navigating the pandemic. The Grass Valley Downtown Association has a list on its website of all the businesses in the area and their particular operations during this time.

Marni Marshall, the association’s executive director, said she’s been reaching out to all 240 businesses to touch base and see how they’re doing. In an email, Marshall said that many of them have begun operating websites to stay relevant and exploring different spaces online to interact with residents.

“Definitely some of them have started to branch out into the digital realm — starting to participate in Instagram in one case, for example,” she said, noting that Kaido Sushi has a YouTube Channel called Umami Dream.

“The Lazy Dog Chocolateria did a live video last weekend,” she added. “Someone dressed up as an Easter Bunny and hopped around to all the stores that were doing curbside service.”

Business shift

Natural Selection Food and Wine is currently building a website of its own, according to an employee from the store. And online sales have been on the rise recently for The Olive Groove, according to store owner Christina West.

Most businesses already operate online, according to the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.

One of those businesses includes Elevation 2477’, which has now implemented drive-thru and delivery services that extend to western Nevada County and parts of Placer County, according to co-owner Daniel Batchelor.

Although the pace of business is slower than usual, Batchelor said Elevation has been focused on servicing the elderly community, who predominately purchase medicinal products.

The business has extended its hours to ensure less employees are near each other at the same time, and has separated individuals who work with the product from those who handle the money for sanitation purposes.

“We’re really trying to keep the product as clean as possible,” said Batchelor.

Additionally, Elevation has hired a few more people for its delivery service.

Marshall said she hopes local businesses continue to adapt and innovate to ensure their existence during the pandemic and rough economic times.

“We want everyone to start thinking as creatively and out of the box as possible, and to share those ideas so we can all get through this very challenging time together,” she said.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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