GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — Many small businesses have struggled throughout the past year. According to Track the Recovery, an economic tracker by Harvard and Brown Universities and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as of March 31, the number of small businesses decreased by more than 38% compared to January of 2020. That is lower than the previous low last April.
The hardest-hit industry in the state is the leisure and hospitality sector with a drop of more than 50%. But one business in central Kansas is getting worldwide recognition for its pandemic success story. Dilly & Doc Creative Studio is a small main street business that is beating the odds in a Post-COVID comeback.
Dilly & Doc specializes in hands-on craft projects, in-person painting classes, and other creative parties, but when the pandemic hit, the studio owners had to pivot.
“When COVID hit, and things started shutting down, we had property taxes due, we had insurance due,” said Brad Brack, Owner-Operator Dilly & Doc Creative Studio.
The Bracks came up with the idea of a virtual live class known as #FridayNightLive. Before the class takes place, customers purchase take-home project kits. Kits can be delivered, picked up, or shipped. Then when the time comes, crafters tune into Facebook and get creating.
“Whether you can create or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s the experience you know just to let go, forget the outside world, just have a good time,” said Phyllis Brack, Owner-Operator Dilly & Doc Creative Studio.
So far, the small business has done more than 50 weeks of classes and has sold kits to customers as far as Texas and Oregon. The videos have brought in hundreds of views. “We were almost busier during COVID than we were during regular time,” said Phyllis.
The company is now being recognized on an international scale for its success being one of just 12 businesses highlighted in Main Street America’s, Main Street Now 2021 Conference.
The Bracks say the virtual classes saved their business. “Without the Facebook Live stuff, Dilly & Doc would not be here,” said Brad.
The Bracks have sold almost 1,000 kits and say their customers have been their biggest supporters. They say one of the biggest advantages is that customers can tune into the video any day of the week and it’s not limited to just Fridays.
For more information on Dilly & Doc Creative Studio, click here.