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Amid the pandemic, one small business successfully spices up profits

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Amid the pandemic, one small business successfully spices up profits

Take it from the COO of the Spice House and others weathering the COVID-19 storm: Seeking help, expanding digital sales are all tools for small business survival.

With a cadre of repeat customers, the Spice House has stores in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, suburban Evanston and two in Milwaukee, as well as a warehouse in Skokie.

But when COVID-19 hit, Charlie Mayer realized he’d have to rethink his spice-selling business, just like experimenting with a new recipe.

It was a learning process. Mayer, the chief operating officer, originally figured he’d have to shut down. “We’re not a grocery store,” he thought.

Then the rules for “essential businesses” came out, and Mayer saw an opening. He closed to the public March 18, but the rules allowed him to keep his stores operating to handle online orders. […]

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