Vermillion bars have stayed open throughout the later part of the pandemic.
The Dakota Brickhouse General Manager, Josh Scherrer said all Vermillion businesses have been affected in some way or another in the past year. Businesses have responded in different ways to the new normal.
The Brickhouse closes earlier at 11 p.m. and opens later at 4 p.m. The Brickhouse is still at 50% occupancy and has been since the pandemic started. Social distancing is expected and encouraged. Tables and menus are sanitized after every use, Scherrer said.
“We were the first in town to separate our tables, mask up everybody, and we have temp logs that we all use every day,” Scherrer said.
Diane Wirth, owner of The Varsity Pub, said when they first reopened, business was very slow but eventually picked up. Expenses are heavily monitored and controlled in order to save money and adapt. Slower business is harder to sustain.
“We’re not maintaining the same amount of business but we’re maintaining the new normal for now. Every business has been affected differently,” Scherrer said.
The 100th anniversary for Varsity is this year, but a celebration won’t happen until it’s safe to do so later in the year or in 2022, Wirth said. Promotion for major social gatherings are essentially non-existent.
During the spring and summer months, there were many cancelations, Wirth said. Throughout fall and winter, there have been no scheduled events at Varsity.
There have been shortages on several products Varsity uses due to manufactures scaling production back and closing, Wirth said. Vermillion bars are also seeing a drop in business.
”From a business perspective, we’ve definitely tried to make do with what we have,” Scherrer said.
Social media has been optimized in order to keep in touch with customers. Both Brickhouse and Varsity are active on several different platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Since the beginning of this incident, we’ve been pretty forefront on social media; this has been helpful for us,” Scherrer said.
The Vermillion Chamber and Development Company (VCDC) gave out Vermillion Victory Bonds at a discounted rate to local businesses to help stimulate the local economy.
“I feel very fortunate to do business in Vermillion,” Wirth said. “The VCDC has been so supportive, not to mention the whole community’s love and support.”