COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic a local art business is still facing major difficulties.
Bain Smith is the manager of Brushes and Beverages where people can come and paint a picture of their choice while drinking an alcoholic beverage. When the pandemic first began in 2020 Smith was fearful that she would have to shut her doors every month.
“I mean it’s just being honest and I’m sure that every other business can relate to that. Just being scared that we were going to have to close our doors and then something would happen and then we would get another chance. It has been a struggle, we received a PPE loan and that’s really what kept us going and now we’re able to sustain on our own again and business is picking back up,” Smith said
Even though things are going well for the business, they’re still facing some adversity, staffing issues.
“I guess just staffing, we’re very understaffed sometimes for the volume of customers that we normally have that we had before the pandemic it’s starting to come back. We used to keep like ten on staff and now I regularly have like three,” Smith said.
Smith said she’s not the only one who’s frustrated from being short-staffed.
“I mean, I’m sure customers get more frustrated, we’re running around more trying to get adjusted to it. I was thinking about going back to just teaching one painting per class which I know the customers don’t want but I wouldn’t have to have as many employees. We would feel a little more relaxed, it’s been a challenge,” Smith said.
Smith plans on keeping the business up despite being short-staffed, and she hopes she will be able to attract more customers as well.
“We try to take precautions to make sure everyone is comfortable here. With plastic shower curtains, we have sanitizer everywhere, we have soap stocked up. We keep our distance from customers and if they like to they can wear a mask, we wear a mask for the majority of it or we stay behind these curtains,” Smith said.
Smith wants to be able to provide joy to the community with her business.
“I see people come in here and it seems like their day gets brightened by this. The painting is fun and they get to have that sense of community again. And just quality time with their significant other or children, we do all types of things here, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and corporate groups, all types of stuff,” Smith said.
Overall Smith believes the business is going to be okay.
“Hopeful, I mean I think that we’re going to be okay. Me and one of my employees that has been with me through the entire pandemic, at one point it was just me and her alone doing to-go kits. We’ve had to work harder sometimes when we were understaffed but she’d stay with me the whole time. So I think the little family we have here is going to keep us going, as cheesy as that sounds,” Smith said.