Traverse City Business Thrives During COVID-19
"It's really forced us to adapt at a very rapid rate."
While many businesses are struggling right now, we also like to share the good news with you. We found a Traverse City business that is not only surviving, but thriving right now. And it’s largely because of you and the way the Coronavirus has changed your habits.
eFulfillment Service in Traverse City is a distribution warehouse, handling those online orders for companies around the world, and shipping them from northern Michigan to people everywhere who are (for the most part) stuck at home.
Steve Bulger is the Chief Operating Officer at eFulfillment. “Right around mid-March our order volume started to increase and it really took off in April to the point that our order volume doubled.”
Warehouse Manager Mike Claycomb says business is booming and it seems a lot more like the Christmas season. But while the busy Cyber Monday kicks off a month-long shopping frenzy, this has gone on with the same intensity – for twice as long. “Normally our holiday rush period is approximately five weeks, right now we’re going in to week nine of our ‘spring holiday rush’ as you might put it.”
Claycomb goes on to explain one likely reason why. “Now that folks are staying at home, they’ve got their stimulus, they’re getting the funds they need to get what they need, of course there’s folks that, instead of going to stores are now going the online route to stay as safe as they can.” He adds, “Basically we’re just doing everything we can to keep the packages flowing, to get people the things that they need while they’re sitting at home and trying to stay safe.”
It’s keeping workers on their toes – and on their feet – for longer shifts, and causing the company to split schedules to allow for safety during the Coronavirus outbreak. Bulger says, “We don’t know when it’s going to calm down of course but we’re doing what we can to keep up.”
Claycomb says teamwork is at an all-time high. “It’s been organized chaos, which I’m grateful for. In the past seven years I’ve never seen a spring like this. Never. Not even close.”
In fact, spring is usually the “slow season” here. But at a time when many other businesses are furloughing or laying off workers, eFulfillment is actually bringing on additional staff, and they’re looking at hiring even more. Bulger says, “We normally have pretty close to 100 full time team members in Operations and Production and different departments in the warehouse. We are up nearly 20%.”
And the hiring process continues. Claycomb says, “From a hiring standpoint we have not been able to get enough people in. I mean we’ve put out ads, we’ve contacted temp agencies. We’ve done a lot of direct hiring, trying to get good, hard-working folks in here. But it’s been a challenge.”
In the short-term, they don’t see a slowdown anytime soon. And long-term, things may also be changing. Bulger says, “Even when every state in the country opens up, who knows? Maybe folk’s buying behaviors have changed. So at the moment we’re thinking it will go down eventually but it may not go down to what it was before this.”