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Wednesday, August 05, 2020
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These are extraordinary times for small business owners, many of whom are looking for ways to reimagine their services amid the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Three local businesses have redesigned their models to adapt to today’s market, hoping to continue generating income and at the same time offer the community a valuable service.

Teaneck-based photographer Lia Jay specializes in family photo shoots and occasion photography. With all events cancelled and stay-at-home orders in place, she realized she would have to reinvent herself if she wanted to continue making money. Inspired by an idea she saw online, #TheFrontStepProject, Jay introduced PORCHraits, a photography session on your front steps or through the window.

Sessions are held outside with a distance of 20 feet between her and her subjects. It’s not a formal photo shoot so she encourages people to feel comfortable and just have fun with it. To Jay, capturing these moments is significant. “This is a way to remember the difficult and intense time we are going through, but perhaps also the time that brought your family and friends closer together,” she said.

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Jay, who has become an expert in photography from afar, using special lenses and creative layouts, is excited to announce the return of social distancing family sessions. She assures clients that safety always comes first, and promises photographs that will be second to none.

A portion of the proceeds from each session goes to Areyvut, an organization collecting funds to help support food delivery to those on the front line. “As much as many of us are struggling at home, it pales in comparison to those working on the front line,” said Jay, who dedicated an entire month’s earnings to the cause.

According to Jay, when word first spread about this new initiative, some pushed back, suggesting her work is nonessential. To many of Jay’s clients, that could not be further from the truth. “I have gotten tremendous feedback since starting this venture,” said Jay, whose customers have told her that the sessions provided a fun outlet, even for a short time. One family confided that they had been having a difficult time and the photo session brought a ray of sunshine into their lives. For Jay, testimonials like those prove how essential her work
really is.

Nexus Marketing Group, another local business that has reimagined its place in the market, specializes in developing memorable promotions for unforgettable events. Sharon Berger, president of Nexus, said that because of coronavirus most of her business has been suspended indefinitely, compelling her to focus on branding products that align with today’s needs.

Known for creating quality imprinted items for trade shows, events and simchas, Nexus has shifted their effort towards products that are in high demand, like masks, gloves, touchless key tags and hand sanitizers.

“I have always tried to source creative and unique products for my clients to promote their events and businesses, but could never have anticipated a demand for imprinted face masks and paper and plastic bags for deliveries,” said Berger, who welcomes the opportunity to create something useful and of the highest quality that has a purpose now.

Those who work with Berger can attest to the dedication and expertise she brings to a project. Whether it be personalized napkins for a simcha or a customized giveaway for a major corporation, she invests the same level of effort and commitment to ensure her clients’ satisfaction. The same holds true now during these challenging times.

“I am doing my best to support my clients in whatever way I can, by making the ordering process simple, and by ensuring that my clients get a high-quality product at the best price,” said Berger, who believes quality customer service leads to happy clients and future referrals.

Berger, whose main source of business has always been word of mouth, is available to design imprints for large companies supporting healthcare workers as well as smaller projects for groups marking special occasions in a COVID-friendly way.

In West Orange, New Jersey, small-business owner Connie Lior of CBL Fine Art was forced to close her gallery on March 21. The award-winning gallery boasts an eclectic inventory that includes clothing, jewelry, art, Judaica, handbags, furniture, framing and more. For the West Orange community, CBL is a great resource for gifts and unique decorative accessories.

Since shutting its doors, Lior has expanded the store’s website for convenient online shopping. To accommodate customers who are interested in a closer look, she will happily send photographs of specific items requested. CBL has also offered clients curbside pick-up, which eliminates interaction between customers and staff.

Looking ahead, Lior is excited to re-open her doors and welcome the patrons she has missed over the last two months, but not without certain safety precautions implemented to protect herself, her staff and the customers who enter the store. She will be providing masks and gloves and plans to disinfect surfaces and items on a very regular basis.

As small-business owners trying to withstand the difficulties COVID-19 has presented for their companies, Jay, Berger and Lior are grateful for the opportunity to continue working in any capacity.

To reach Lia Jay, please call 646-494-5676 or visit www.liajayphoto.com 

To reach Nexus Marketing Group, please call 201-837-8676 or email: [email protected]

To reach CBL Fine Art, please call 973-736-7776 or email [email protected].

By Andrea Nissel

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