The Bridal Collection shop sat quietly, still full of white lace and taffeta, but eerily absent of the usual beaming brides and gushing mothers-in-law. Owner Lynn Crandall mulled over the situation in her chair. How could a bride say yes to a dress while saying no to social contact? And how could The Bridal Collection continue to make money when so much of their business relied on in-person interactions?

“The financial ramifications for small businesses are huge, and we’re trying to hold on,” Lynn said. “We’re still paying all of our full-time and salaried employees, and I’m literally praying each day ‘God, provide for us.’”  

The Bridal Collection has already been forced to close its special occasions department, leaving prom fantasies suspended on hangers. The business now relies solely on income generated from wedding gowns– wedding gowns brides can’t try on in the store.

“The financial ramifications for small businesses are huge.”

In the face of this bleak reality, Lynn hatched a plan to bring the magic of choosing a dress into the safety of brides’ own homes. 

“We’re giving brides an at-home gown viewing celebration,” Lynn said. “We’re doing curb-side, no-contact pickup with a bottle of champagne, or we’ll ship it to them complimentary. They get to have a dress try-on party at home.” 

When brides find that perfect dress, they send a picture of it with a ‘yes’ sign to The Bridal Collection. The store then offers them a discount through Podium payments, a secure, straight-to-your-phone payment system.

Podium released the tool right before the quarantine hit, and it has proved essential to The Bridal Collection’s new way of doing business. 

“Podium is great because it’s completely no contact,” Lynn said. “We don’t have to take credit cards into the store and get germs on the machine; we can do it completely remotely. Podium has been a godsend for us in this journey” 

Despite not being able to have brides come into the store, The Bridal Collection has been able to process over $200,000 through Podium Payments during the no-contact period. Lynn encourages other businesses not to give up hope. 

“Think outside the box and brainstorm new solutions.”

“Think outside the box and brainstorm new solutions,” Lynn said. “ For us, we were able to utilize Podium in a way that we hadn’t thought of or developed before. We were able to take the tools that we had access to and then brainstorm a new way to do business with them.”

While it’s no secret that local businesses are facing unprecedented challenges and an uncertain future, nothing brings us more hope and energy as a company than hearing about business owners like Lynn who are coming up with creative solutions. Now more than ever, we admire the courage it takes to run a business. We stand behind you. We support you. We respect you. 

In the face of an uncertain future, does Podium really believe that America’s local businesses can think outside the box and emerge victorious? 

We do.