By Zach Taber, Staff Writer
The Student Body Boutique (SBB), along with other student-run businesses, had to close their doors for two weeks because of the suspension of in-person classes. The SBB has been vacant since Oct. 15, when the pause was initiated by President Kimberly Cline. All student-run businesses, including The SBB, will not be able to resume their operations until campus is reopened on Nov. 2.
Although the businesses have been closed, students involved with running The SBB have used this time to create new ideas for the store.
“We went into this school year prepared for all kinds of possibilities,” junior business administration major and chief executive officer of The Student Body Boutique Alina Chen said. “Our executive team has had to work extremely hard to plan exciting events for the LIU community while ensuring that we are following the newly implemented COVID policies.”
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, The SBB has been successful in maintaining their operations this semester.
“In our first two weeks of opening, we achieved record sales numbers, reaching nearly $1000,” Chen said. “We have planned out events for every month, as well as goals we would like to meet. Our main focus, always, is our student community.”
The employees of The SBB have enjoyed working for this student-run business during the pandemic.
“Working at the Boutique is collaborative, exciting, resourceful and fun,” sophomore musical theatre major and employee of The SBB Quinn Doyle said. “There is never a dull moment among this pristine business.”
Still, navigating a two week campus shutdown hasn’t been easy for students involved in running The SBB, and student workers alike.
“Being online for these two weeks means we don’t get to work because student employees that live off campus aren’t allowed on,” junior musical theatre major and employee of The SBB, Devin Butera said. “Now we have to suffer unemployment for two weeks.”
The store has also been closed to ensure the safety of students on campus during the two week pause.
“Because of the two week quarantine, we had to pause both our in-person and online operations,” Chen said.
Though the storefront has been closed, and employees haven’t been able to work, The SBB has found different ways to engage with their customer base during the pause.
“Our marketing team consisting of Elizabeth Beall, Emma Robinson, and Anna Serro, have been making our Instagram absolutely bomb,” Chen said. “We hope to interact with our customers there as much as possible as soon as we are approved to continue business our followers will be the first to know.”
During the pause, The SBB marketing team has also been working on launching a website for the business.
With the recent announcement from Cline that classes will resume in-person as of Monday, Nov. 2, The SBB and its employees are looking forward to working the remainder of the semester.
“Plainly and simply, I cannot wait to get back to work,” said Doyle. “I miss working, my employees and managers, and getting to run the store whenever I was on the clock. I miss making sure that the clothing items, shoes, bags/purses and accessories were all organized tidied up while then maintaining the register.”
The SBB plans to continue collaborations with student-made items being sold in the store after the pause.
“We look forward to resuming our collaboration with Cassie Cerbone and her brand Tailgate Apparel USA, [where] all proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society, as well as continuing our potential collaborations with other student creators,” Chen said.
“The SBB x Tailgate Apparel USA had only launched for two days before the two week quarantine was put into place,” Chen said. “I know that our staff and customers were very excited for this collaboration. I just hope that LIU will deem it safe enough to resume store operations soon so that this collection can fly off the shelves as it was expected to and for all proceeds to be donated to the American Cancer Society before the month is over. Our executive team has had to work extremely hard to plan exciting events for the LIU community while ensuring that we are following the newly implemented COVID policies.”
Even though adapting to the “new normal” has been difficult for student businesses and student workers alike, especially during this two-week shutdown, health and safety has and will continue to remain at the forefront of both of the store’s operations
“At the end of the day, the health and safety of our students and faculty is our first priority, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that,” Chen said.
When the store reopens, The SBB Instagram (@studentbodyboutique) will be notifying shoppers.