How Fergus Falls Businesses are Getting Creative in Response to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has presented many challenges over the course of 2020. With guidelines and regulations continually evolving, business owners have had to find new ways to pivot so they can continue to serve customers and stay in business. Keep reading to find out how three Fergus Falls businesses are getting creative in response to COVID-19.

Higher Grounds Coffee

Known for its signature bagel sandwiches and delicious baked goods, Higher Grounds has been a long-time favorite among regulars and out-of-town guests. When the first shutdown came, the coffee and gift shop had to close its doors for several months. Despite the closure and the loss of employees, owner Kim Lockwood isn’t letting the pandemic hold her or her business back.

Besides offering takeout and curbside pickup, Higher Grounds has managed to get creative in various ways, including incorporating a Christmas theme into the gift shop. “We decided to embrace the holidays and make it feel like a Hallmark movie because they always have a happy ending,” Lockwood notes.

The second creative shift came when a friend found out they could no longer have a reception after their wedding. The family didn’t want to send guests away empty-handed after the ceremony, so they asked Lockwood if she could provide to-go meals. Since she has a catering background, she felt up to the challenge. The drive-by wedding reception was such a hit that Lockwood decided to continue offering it as a service.

The changes that Higher Grounds has put into place since the pandemic began have been met by a positive response from the community. “People have been very supportive of my small business, and I have been truly grateful. While these changes have been very difficult for staff and customers, we have done our best to navigate through this. Many people have missed the conversations that they could have in a sit-down setting, but they have continued to show their support by coming in and getting to-go options.”

The Viking Cafe

Although The Viking Cafe has changed hands (and names) a few times since it opened in 1945, Pat Shol’s family has owned the restaurant since 1967. Like many other business owners, Shol has had to make some hard choices since the pandemic began, including letting employees go due to the ensuing shutdowns. “Our staff went from 22 to 5 employees overnight, and it was difficult as a business owner to know that so many people were out of work,” he recalls.