Managing Business in the New Normal


These are challenging times for everyone.

With this page, Namta would like to help by sharing information and ideas that we have found, along with what our members are doing to navigate these difficult times, with the hope it might be of help, or give an idea, to even one company or person.

We wish there was more we could do, but please know that we are thinking about all of you, in every country, around the world.

- Namta

                        

      


Coronavirus.gov


Please Note:  All information posted below is relevant to the date it was posted.


JUNE 4, 2020

Big Banks call for Blanket Forgiveness
of PPP Loans Under $150,000

June 02, 2020 - on americanbanker.com

Two bank lobbying organizations asked Congress on Tuesday to automatically forgive small-business loans of less than $150,000 that are made under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The request comes as the Senate eyes potential changes to the massive emergency relief effort. Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would make it easier for small businesses to get their PPP loans forgiven. One of its provisions would extend the period of time in which companies must use the funds in order to qualify for forgiveness.The Consumer Bankers Association and the Bank Policy Institute, both of which represent big banks, want Congress to go further. In a letter Thursday to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and other key lawmakers, they argued that blanket forgiveness of small loans would save recipients substantial time and money.

Under a $150,000 threshold, some 26% of all PPP loan dollars would qualify for automatic forgiveness, according to the banking trade groups. But 85% of PPP loan recipients would benefit.

“Their time and resources would be better focused on getting the economy safely back up and running, not processing burdensome paperwork,” the banking trade groups wrote.

Blanket loan forgiveness would also help banks. Under the program’s current rules, loans to borrowers who fall short of the standards necessary for forgiveness may remain on banks’ balance sheets. While those loans are government-guaranteed, they have interest rates of just 1%, and banks would have to spend money to service them.

Loans of less than $50,000 in the Paycheck Protection Program can ultimately be expected to cost banks about $500 million, according to an analysis by the consulting firm AQN Strategies. The banking trade groups cited that analysis in their letter Tuesday.

The Paycheck Protection Program, which was enacted in late March, has made approximately $660 billion available to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the program’s existing rules, 75% of loan proceeds must be tied to payroll in order to qualify for forgiveness. The House-passed bill would reduce that threshold to 60%.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell has reportedly been checking with senators to see if the House bill can get unanimous support in the Senate, which could enable passage as soon as this week.

 


JUNE 1, 2020


 
COVID-19 Cumulative State Legislative Report

COVID-19 Cumulative Federal Legislative Report

View major enacted COVID-19 state and federal legislation below. This tool updates regularly, so be sure to check back for more information.

COVID-19 Major Enacted State and Federal Legislative Action Center

This information is from  

 

 


MAY 29, 2020

IRS Releases Guidance
on Refundable Payroll Tax Credits for Emergency Leave

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service released a new fact sheet on the refundable tax credits that nonprofits and other employers can claim when paying for sick leave or family and medical leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The fact sheet address questions about covered employees, sick leave requirements and the credit, how to claim the credits, and recordkeeping.






MAY 28, 2020

SBA PPP Loan

Application Requirements & Forgiveness Guidance

Presented by Cherry Bekaert LLP

Webinar Video



  • To learn more on the highlights of SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness Application, along with considerable guidance recently released, click here.

 

 

 


MAY 26, 2020



Road to Retail Recovery Playbook






The Retail Council of Canada has created a Road to Retail Recovery Playbook to assist retailers in their reopening planning. If you are interested in downloading and saving the 177-page PDF document, click the following link: https://www.retailcouncil.org/coronavirus-info-for-retailers/recovery-playbook/




MAY 20, 2020
5 Ways to Make Your Store VISIBLE During the COVID-19 Shutdown

from KIZER and BENDER's Retail Adventures in the REAL World™

If we have learned anything during the COVID-19 shutdown it’s that you must work hard to stay in front of customers. Just because your brick and mortar store is closed, it doesn’t mean that you can wait it out. Just the opposite. Now is the time to get in your customers faces and stay there. Here’s how:

  1. Build a team of associates who are well-versed in what you sell, and can be personable even behind a mask. Your front line truly is your bottom line. You need associates who understand what they sell and can easily answer every question customers ask about product and product use. Associate training now has another layer as state and community health and safety guidelines must be met, as well as, continuous product and service training. Each morning gather your team and discuss what’s important that particular day. Create your own training videos and ask vendors about product training classes your team can take online. You can have the best product at the best prices but it’s never going to sell itself. Invest in training your people.
  2. Bundle. Put together kits or groupings of related product, give each theme a cool name, package it in a fun box, and sell it for one price. $50 or less makes it easy to grab and go.
  3. Set your sales floor to sell. It’s easy to forgo that basics when you are busy sanitizing the cash wrap 400 times a day, but merchandising isn’t something you can let slide. Each day make sure that your speed bump displays are full and cross-merchandised, that your end features tell a story, the fixtures in your lake front property are used to display that’s new and on trend, and the impulse items at the cash wrap are refreshed often. Shoppers who visit your store are in the mood to buy; make sure your displays encourage them to pause.
  4. Work your social networks. If you are not yet selling online and on social media, start now. Many retailers are reporting stronger sales online while their stores are closed than what they do on a typical day when the physical store is open. Mimic QVC and host a weekly Facebook Live shopping night that’s geared to sell product. Add additional broadcasts to share techniques and project demos. If you are new to selling online it’s easy to get started with companies like Shopify, BigCommerce and Ecwid.
  5. Be consistent in your marketing. Your marketing needs to be seen by customers at least seven times before it registers; the more they see your messages the better chance you’ll have to capture their attention and their business. Now is not the time to disappear, it’s time to get busy.

Before this all started it was okay to send email blasts to customers every 10–15 days, but with the COVID-19 shutdown you want to send one each week. Each email should have one clear message that’s illustrated with photos — big photos — and less copy. Link each photo to a page on  your website or social media post so shoppers can click for a closer look at that particular product. It should take the reader 20 seconds or less to understand your message — every email blast you send should encourage the customer to make a purchase online ASAP.

Standing out while your store is closed takes focus, consistency, and a lot of elbow grease. Your challenge after COVID-19 will be dealing with the need to continue to sell online while reopening your physical space for business. As much as you’d like, you cannot back off of online selling — you have to have two stores now.

COPYRIGHT KIZER & BENDER | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | RETAIL ADVENTURES BLOG

This article originally appeared on the American Quilt Retailer’s Virtual Blue Bag. If you are looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, American Quilt Retailer Magazine is a great resource, even if you do not own a quilt shop. You will find KIZER & BENDER’s business advice column in each issue.


MAY 19, 2020
The two reports below include all state and federal bills and resolutions referencing COVID-19, coronavirus, or pandemic, as of May 18, 2020.

COVID-19 State Report by PolicyEngage

COVID-19 Federal Report by PolicyEngage

An account is not necessary to view the linked information. Please feel free to share.

Bennett James
Director of Sales | PolicyEngage
202-930-2619
Schedule a Call

 


MAY 17, 2020

Namta Member Still Helping the Healthcare Workers



On April 16th we told you about Namta Member Ioan Florea (CAS Paints) and his 3D Masks for Healthcare Workers - updatd - Ioan is still at it, making about 1,400 shields since April, and donating all to Illinois hospitals, including Northwestern Memorial and Mount Sinai-Chicago, HSHS St. John’s-Springfield, HSHS Good Shepherd-Shelbyville and Sarah Bush Lincoln-Mattoon.



Watch this video to see Ioan's process.




Healthcare Workers at St. Joseph's said, "Thank you Ioan Florea, owner of Florea Art Studio in Shelbyville, for your donation of 100 3D printed face shields. This will help ensure our healthcare workers will continue to be safe while caring for the patients."

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE







May 16, 2020


Retailer List
Updated May 16

Are they open?
Do they have Curbside Pickup?
And More . . .


MAY 15, 2020
Firms that took a PPP loan under $2 million are about to get a break
PUBLISHED THU, MAY 14 2020
Darla Mercado  @DARLA_MERCADO




KEY POINTS

  • The Paycheck Protection Program offers forgivable loans that businesses can use to cover the cost of payroll and other expenses. Borrowers must certify that their entities need the money due to economic uncertainty.
  • The Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration now say that businesses borrowing less than $2 million are considered to have made the certification in good faith. They won’t be subject to additional scrutiny.
  • Got a loan and thinking of returning the money? Treasury and SBA are giving you more time to return the funds: May 18.


READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE



MAY 11, 2020

With rent being one of the highest monthly expenses for brick and mortar businesses, it’s a good idea to know what your lease options are and how you can approach your landlords. 

Namta Associate Member, ESR Commericial, is a free real estate resource that may be helpful to you, and can guide you through what Tenants and Landlords are doing around the country during COVID-19 and in the future.

ESR presented a Zoom presentation for Namta members on April 30th. We have recorded this very informative presentation to view at your convenience.

ESR's Richard and Garrett Aries are available to answer any questions you may have – they can be contacted by email or phone.
 
Garrett Aries •  818-519-5040    [email protected]
Richard Aries •  818 - 802-4730   [email protected]


MAY 11, 2020



Opening up again . . .

Informative video from Claudia St. John, Affinity HR Group. Ms. St. John speaks about actions that businesses should take into account to open in a safe manner.

  



Return to Healthy Business Operations Checklist
A comprehensive checklist from NEXSUN/PRUETT for businesses to consider before returning to work and continued measures once you are  back in the work environment.

Operation Open Doors Checklist
A checklist from The National Retail Federation (NRF), representing guidance from NRF members and subject matter experts, highlighting key topics to consider as retailers seek to re-open operations.

 


MAY 6, 2020

Great format to use for emailing updates to your customers - straightforward and easy to read.

COVID-19

Re-Opening Update

Curbside Pick-Up will resume Wednesday, May 12, from 1:00 - 5:00 pm Wednesday - Sunday.
Monday and Tuesday service TBA.

Email your Orders for Toledo Pick-Up: [email protected]
Toledo Curbside Ordering Hotline: (419) 340-2701 
Toledo Landline for other purposes: (419) 720-6462

Resumption of in-store shopping TBA.

Please check our website, email, and social media for updates, as the situation is consistently fluid.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all workshops through June 1 are cancelled until further notice.

We may have to extend our cancellations beyond June 1, but can not make that determination at this time.



MAY 5, 2020
Good video from Namta friends, Kizer & Bender.







MAY 1, 2020
Namta member Excel Hobby Blades has a FACE MASK product of interest.



Non-Assembled Face Shield Kit (FK1) -  Assembly takes seconds and requires no tools!  25 Kits Per Pack. Each Face Shield Pack includes: 1 Safety Shield, 1 Injection Molded Safety Band, and 1 Elastic Band. (instructions included)    

Replacement Plastic Safety Shield com in packs of 180, and Replacement Elastic Bands available in packs of 100.            

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCOcbnFZ3Jc






APRIL 30, 2020
Namta member Marabu brings a new HAND & SURFACE SANITIZER to market.


As we come to grips with this global pandemic crisis known as Coronavirus, staying healthy has never been more important. Yet we have seen worldwide shortages of many critical hygiene supplies, from face masks to disinfectants to hand sanitizer. 

Marabu has announced a much-needed new product for the home and workplace – Mara® Disinfect. This versatile, alcohol-based solution can be used two ways to help prevent infection and disease – by sanitizing your hands AND disinfecting your work surfaces.  York Boeder, Marabu’s CEO delivers disinfectant, masks and some of our creative products to hospitals in Germany.


WATCH THIS VIDEO


Its gentle, antibacterial formula is suitable for anyone practicing safe hygiene indoors or outside – including office staff, medical personnel, first responders, factory and field workers, food service employees and families sheltered in place. 

Marabu has converted some of our production facilities at our corporate headquarters in Germany, as well as here in the US, to make Mara Disinfect, developed in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines. After providing it to our own essential employees and donating hundreds of cases to local hospitals, we are now making it available for sale to organizations and individuals in 8-ounce bottles, perfect for refilling your own personal spray or pump containers. When gloves are in short supply or when handwashing with soap and water is not available, WHO recommends alcohol- based sanitizers to rapidly and most effectively destroy potentially harmful microorganisms on the skin. Mara Disinfect is non-irritating, with no added dyes or perfumes and no rinsing required. 

For inquiries on volume purchases, please contact Marabu North America via email ([email protected]) or by phone (888-253-2778). This product is not available for sale, distribution or use in Canada. Click here to download a detailed brochure. Visit MarabuCares.com to learn more about the company’s efforts to help our local communities.




April 29, 2020
Good article!
Without clear rules guiding businesses on how to keep employees safe, you're responsible for making your own plan. This article suggests how to avoid some of the most common potential problems.

What Not to Do
When You Re-open Your Business


BY LINDSAY BLAKELY, MANAGING EDITOR, INC.COM
@LINDSAYBLAKELY
article on https://www.inc.com/lindsay-blakely/business-reopen-plan-reduce-liability.html

As states grapple with timelines for reopening their economies, businesses now face the challenge of how and when to bring employees back safely.

Several factors make this task difficult for business owners to navigate. Safety guidelines may differ from state to state, so companies with multiple locations across the country need to stay up to date on the various guidelines. Making matters even murkier, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not stepped in to issue overarching rules for employers or clarify their responsibilities for keeping employees safe.

This is all to say that if not handled carefully, any post-pandemic reopening plan may quickly become a legal minefield for businesses, says Travis Vance, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based partner and the chair of the Covid-19 task force at the labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips. "We're going to see a lot of claims filed related to coronavirus," Vance says, and while workers' compensation may cover you for many of them, negligence claims aren't covered. That means you need to be ready to show you've taken steps to preemptively reduce the risk in your facilities.

Vance offers five tips on what not to do when making your plan.

1. Don't automatically adopt a company-run temperature-taking operation.
Taking employees' temperatures sounds like a smart safety measure until you consider the logistical challenges involved. Vance points to three big areas of concern: keeping that biometric data private once you collect it, figuring out how to compensate employees while they wait in line, and keeping the people in that line safe, given the imperative to social distance. To be sure, employers may not have a choice on this matter because some states may issue reopening guidance that advises companies to begin taking their employees' temperatures. If your business is in one of these states, Vance says some companies are getting creative to avoid the data privacy problem by using instant-read thermometers that they simply show to the employee after they've taken their temperature. "Collect as little data as you can," Vance says.

If you're able, don't attempt to train someone on staff to take temperatures, he adds: "Look for ways to contract with [health care professionals] to the temperatures." They will have the proper equipment and necessary training.

2. Don't assume social distancing will be easy to enforce.
Similar to taking temperatures, while social distancing seems simple in theory, it's much more difficult to execute. Even if you can move cubicles so that everyone is six feet apart, you also need to address break rooms and bathrooms. If you can, make communal restrooms into one-person bathrooms. Consider public-facing positions such as receptionists and how you'll keep them from exposure. And don't forget hallways. "Make corridors one-way traffic only," Vance says. "It sounds silly, but you need to think about stopping face-to-face exchanges even in places like hallways."

3. Don't assume all of your workers will feel safe enough to come back to work.
Even if you take all necessary safety precautions, it's highly likely you will have some employees who won't want to return to work because they feel unsafe.

"OSHA's threshold for people refusing to work is when someone is facing a high risk of imminent death," Vance says. "In those cases, the only way to avoid such a hazard is for the person to not work. Most of the time employees can't refuse to show up for work. So what do you do when they just decide not to show up?"

Start thinking now about how you'll handle operations if many people still want to work from home and how you'll treat all employees fairly in this case.

4. Don't equip your team with masks without a proper procedure in place.
Again, some state orders may require you to supply your team with masks. In many cases, this order won't come with any additional guidance, so it will be up to your company to figure out a plan for getting a sufficient supply, keeping them clean, and training employees on how to wear them properly. Another question to consider: What's your response if an employee wants to wear a bandanna instead of a mask?

5. Don't forget to come up with a plan for how to handle visitors to your office.
All of the careful precautions you take to keep your staff safe will be for naught if you don't also think about how to handle third-party visitors to your office, whether it's package delivery people or clients. Most businesses Vance advises, from retail to professional services companies, are opting to post signage outside of their buildings advising visitors not to enter if they've had Covid-19 symptoms recently or been in contact with someone who has been infected. Usually, they also stipulate calling the receptionist instead of walking right in.




April 26, 2020

To make you smile - Future Artist and Art Advocate makes use of time at home!

This industrious little artist is the child of one of Felicia Gray's former art students. Felicia is the inventor of Paint Plates - Toss Products.



April 24, 2020
Sent by email on April 23rd, from Americans for the Arts Action Fund

Congress completed passage of additional funding for CARES Act legislation by replenishing the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with an additional $310 billion. I am very pleased to report that $60 billion of these PPP funds are being reserved for community banks to process loans for smaller groups, like nonprofits and self-employed gig workers. These new supplemental funds will also be administered on a first-come, first served process. If you've already applied, then your application is in the queue, but if you haven't applied yet, please do immediately. The Small Business Administration reports that 39,670 nonprofit and commercial groups and gig workers representing the "arts, entertainment, and recreation sector" have already been awarded $4.9 billion in PPP funds in the first round of CARES Act.

Congress also replenished the SBA's Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program with an additional $60 billion, of which $10 billion will be specifically allocated to give "advances" of up to $10,000 (based on $1,000 per employee) to companies and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees, and to self-employed gig workers. The "advance" payments do not have to be repaid.



April 22, 2020
Just fabulous!

Not everyone can do this, but we thought this was such a cool gesture from Retail Member Bonnie Shefts from Jerry's Artist Outlet in New Jersey. Bonnie put together some FREE LOOT - art supplies from her store -  for kids in her neighborhood. Then she went out and delivered the goodies, door to door. 




April 18, 2020

Article from TravelPulse.com

TSA Shares Tips
for Traveling During COVID-19 Pandemic

Even as nationwide passenger numbers reach record lows, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is sharing some helpful tips for travelers flying during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

First and foremost, the agency is encouraging all passengers to travel with hand sanitizer and alcohol- or anti-bacterial wipes.

TSA has relaxed its rules to allow each traveler one hand sanitizer container of up to 12 ounces in their carry-on bag until further notice. However, hand sanitizer containers exceeding the standard 3.4-ounce allowance typically permitted through checkpoints are required to be screened separately.

Passengers are also allowed to wear face masks during the screening process. Keep in mind that travelers may be asked to adjust the mask so officers can visually confirm their identity when checking travel documents.

Travelers should also place any items from their pockets - including things like keys, tissues, loose change and cell phones - into their carry-on bag to avoid having to use a bin and faster screening.

TSA also advises travelers not to panic if their driver's license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, as officers will accept expired driver's licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration or 60 days after the duration of the emergency, whichever is longer.

Lastly, TSA reminds travelers to wash their hands both before and after going through security checkpoints to help slow the spread of COVID-19.





April 17, 2020
Namta Member committed to helping out.




Paul Petrino
is known to many Namta members, and to the Namta staff, as an all-around nice guy, and super sales representative from SLS Arts.

But did you know that Paul is also a volunteer EMS worker in upstate New York?

Paul has committed to the Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance to work not only his regular shifts, but also as an emergency fill-in, in a moments notice, when other EMTs can't make a shift, or when a particularly heavy case load on a given day requires putting a third truck in service due to the current situation.

A Big Thank You to Paul!
and to all the people like him who put are putting in the ‘extra’ for the people who need the help!
Real Heroes!





April 16, 2020

ESR Commercial is happy to talk to Namta Members that have questions regarding  current real estate situations.
 
We realize that many people have questions and concerns about their business during this current crisis. Numerous cities and states have mandated closures of businesses and social gatherings - creating problems for many independent business owners.

"As a free real estate resource, we will be happy to assist any owners who have questions during this time of uncertainty. Every case will be different, but there may be things that can be done and that we can help guide you through".

"If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us personally."
 
Garrett Aries - (818) 519-5040
Richard Aries - (818) 802-4730



April 16, 2020

Namta Member, Ioan Florea, CAS Paints helps with pandemic.

Ioan told us, "I am involved with helping hospitals in Chicago by donating 3D printed Face Shields PPE, and we've already donate hundreds. Who would have known that instead of preparing for Art Materials World Chicago 2020 in April, we are fighting the pandemic."

Information below from 3dprint.com


Companies, organizations and individuals continue to attempt to lend support to the COVID-19 pandemic supply effort. We will be providing regular updates about these initiatives where necessary in an attempt to ensure that the 3D printing community is aware of what is being done, what can be done and what shouldn’t be done to provide coronavirus aid.
 
All 3D-printed nasal test swab efforts are now taking place under a single umbrella: an industry consortium called PrintedSwabs.org. The organization includes Formlabs, EnvisionTEC, Carbon, Optin Industries, Origin and numerous medical research organizations. By consolidating their efforts, these companies can coordinate with those hospitals and medical facilities that make the most logistical sense. All manufacturers within the consortium have ISO13485 facilities and produce FDA registered swab designs and can print 4 million swabs weekly.
 
As an example of the efforts by the industry group, Bay Area startup Origin is working with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Its nasal swabs were designed with nTopology’s software to quickly iterate the proper lattice structure. The design was tested by the U.S. Army, as well as university and medical labs. Origin suggests that one of its printers is capable of producing 1,500 swabs in a single print job in less than eight hours.
 
Like many other 3D printing firms, Origin is also making face shields, but it is also involved in the Pneumask project, which has designed a method for converting a full-face snorkel mask into a N95-style face mask. Designed by a team of researchers from Stanford Engineering, University of Utah, UCSF and more, the Pneumask consists of an off-the-shelf snorkeling mask, a 3D printed adapter, and a filter/filter cartridge.
 
The snorkeling mask itself provides a full-face shield and air seal while also allowing for controlled breathing through the mask. The filter is of the type used in anesthesia procedures and attached to the snorkel port using a 3D printed adapter, made custom depending on the snorkel brand and model.
 
So far, the mask has gone through an array of tests necessary for qualifying the device for emergency FDA approval. Clinical usability and disinfection protocol testing is currently underway as the team preps the Pneumask for submission to the FDA.
 
Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), launched a website dedicated to bringing together members of the 3D printing community to support COVID-19 supply efforts. The site includes a list of resources to allow medical institutions, hospitals and equipment suppliers to connect with 3D printing service bureaus, certification groups and other institutions within the country to design and print parts for medical equipment. The site already lists a number of these parties and will update with guidelines from the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore.
 
Among those within the NAMIC network is a 3D printing startup called Siege Advanced Manufacturing, which has converted a majority of its printing capacity to producing face shields. With over 50 systems, desktop and otherwise, the company claims to have the largest 3D printing capacity in Singapore and is using it make shields for several hospitals in Singapore and abroad.
 
In the U.S., face shields continue to be made by 3D printing volunteers, such as Ioan Florea, the designer made famous for the wild 3D printed Gran Torino sculpture that debuted in 2014. Florea is using his more than 10 large-scale FDM 3D printer to produce hundreds of face shields. He has delivered several hundred to hospitals in Chicago and has more requests coming in from New York.


 
In Poland, selective laser sintering (SLS) manufacturer Sinterit has used its LISA PRO SLS systems to produce 4,000 face shield adapters. Sinterit’s design is unique in that it consists of 3D-printed adapters that are fixed to off-the-shelf safety glasses. A hole punch can convert any large piece of plastic film into a face shield.
 
As the pandemic continues to grip the world, we will continue to provide regular updates about what the 3D printing community is doing in response. As always, it is important to keep safety in mind, remain critical about the potential marketing and financial interests behind seemingly good humanitarian efforts from businesses, and to do no harm.




April 15, 2020
Are your Employees new to the Work-From-Home Environment?


Due to  the urgency of the public health crisis, many companies who didn’t already have remote working in place had little time to institute policies for staff, ensure proper technology, or set up training for working from home.

Establish routine and structured daily check-ins. For employees who are accustomed to the buzz of a busy workplace, working from home can feel isolating. Loneliness can be the biggest struggle to working remotely. Employees sometimes feel that their supervisors are out of touch with their needs.

Set office hour limits. The experts say overwork is common. Remote workers sometimes feel compelled to answer email at all hours and put in time on the weekends.

Provide opportunities for remote connection. Consider setting up remote happy hours or cyber lunch dates. You can holds trivia contests and celebrate birthdays using the messaging platform Slack. The Namta Staff is currently using Slack and we like it.



April 14, 2020
Free Webinars and Podcasts


Kizer & Bender

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are consumer anthropologists, speakers, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a "Who's Who" in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place.

You may have met them at a past Art Materials World, worked with them on a project for your company, or read their articles in Namta's eNews. They are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. As consumer anthropologists they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today's consumer. Any speaker can talk about consumers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to focus groups, one-on-one interviews and intensive on-site studies their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. 

Rich and Georganne want to share some information with you, and we think you’ll find them both informative, entertaining, and helpful during these challenging times.

Kizer & Bender Webinars

Kizer & Bender Podcasts



April 13, 2020

Found on LinkedIn - interesting for the Art Materials industry

"The NPD Group's Leen Nsouli discusses how Covid-19 impacted school/office supplies shopping patterns in this segment from our recent podcast interview). Initially there was a focus on those items related to productivity—like pens, paper and organizational products. But as people face a long stay at home, demand switched to those items that help us cope with isolation—like arts and crafts, paint, and slime (which is making a comeback)."

Watch Video





April 11, 2020

Navigating Finances during COVID-19
AVAILABLE RESOURCES & INFORMATION 

Namta put this page together with the hopes it may be of help to you. It includes

 

  • Financial Assistance Programs
  • Small Business Administration Guidance & Loan Resources
  • ESR  Commercial – may be able to help you with real estate tenant issues
  • Tom Shay, Profits Plus  - an article to think about what’s next
  • Cherry Bekaert Accounting Firm - PPP Information



April 10, 2020
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS


Effective April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act  (FFCRA) provides Federal funding for the reimbursement of expenses related to paid Family Leaves through refundable tax credits.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed by Congress on March 27, 2020 also contains several financial stimulus provisions that pertain to our members.

 

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION LOANS
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) this program effective April 3rd, 2020,  provides for forgivable loans to small businesses, individual artists and contractors to pay their employees or themselves and other eligible expenses during the COVID-19 crisis

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – this program provides low interests loans for small businesses in emergencies 

Informative Article about the different types of loans. - EIDL and PPP

U.S.DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY (IRS)
Employee Retention Tax Credit - this program provides new tax credits for businesses which are experiencing significant revenue losses due to the COVID-19 crisis and maintain their employees.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (DOL)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (UIPL) -  Unemployment must be filed through the pertinent state agency.  Each state has different eligibility requirements, paid unemployment benefit amounts, length of unemployment. This program provides federal assistance in addition to your states’ benefits.

PLEASE NOTE: Namta would be happy to address any general questions regarding this information but if you should have any specific questions regarding your individual circumstances we advise that you contact your accountant or financial advisor.



April 10, 2020

Cincinnati Bankers Tell Small Business Owners What Not To Do in applying for PPP

from www.bizjournals.com/cincinnat
article by  and   –  Cincinnati Business Courier - April 9


Cincinnati banks, like those across the country, have been inundated by applications from small businesses seeking money through the U.S. Small Business Administration's new Paycheck Protection Program.

But for companies rushing for cash, there are several things small-business owners need to be mindful of, bankers said.

Banks have been scrambling to handle the flood of applications since the program launched Friday. Fifth Third Bank (Nasdaq: FITB), Cincinnati’s largest local bank and the nation’s ninth-largest U.S.-based consumer bank, had received 22,000 applications as of midday Tuesday, CEO Greg Carmichael told me.

Smaller banks are getting overrun, too. LCNB National Bank had to temporarily suspend taking new applications early this week, CEO Eric Meilstrup told me. The $1.6 billion lender had received more than 500 applications.

“We would have had many more, and we didn’t want customers to be part of the backlog if they had another option,” Meilstrup said. “We have a huge desire to reopen that, and we’ll look at it early next week. We obviously don’t want to not take care of somebody. But we’re focusing right now on taking care of the customers who have applied.”

Milford-based CenterBank, a big SBA lender that has just $250 million in assets and three offices, has processed 150 PPP applications totaling $30 million, president Stewart Greenlee told me. That’s small compared with the big banks, but it’s still rising and nearing 15% of the bank’s total assets.

“We studied this ahead of time and had a dedicated group that worked over the weekend to handle this,” Greenlee said. “We wanted to make sure we could relieve anxiety for our customers as fast as we could.”

The program enables small businesses of 500 employees or less to borrow up to 2 1/2 times their average monthly payroll. They can apply 25% of that to other costs such as mortgage, rent and utility bills to keep the business open. Loans of up to $10 million are available. The key for many companies: the loans are forgivable for the amount used for payroll, rent or mortgage, utilities and other qualifying expenses over the eight weeks after they receive the money. They have to keep all their employees on staff to get the loan forgiven. Otherwise, the loans charge a low 1% interest rate.

But getting the money quickly into the hands of businesses that are in desperate need has been a massive undertaking.

“It’s a Herculean task,” First Financial Bank CEO Archie Brown told me. “The Treasury Department and the SBA created legislation and rules and rolled it out to banks all in the last week.”

Business owners can take steps to smooth the process that’s encountering logjams at the SBA even when things are done right. Make a mistake and your application can get slowed even more.

Tips include:

Do not apply at several banks: One borrower can only apply with one lender. “If someone came to us and said they already applied at another bank, we just ask them to be patient with that bank,” Greenlee said.

Don’t turn in incomplete submissions: They will delay processing your loan. While lenders are going in with customized processes, several banks have already set up a system that kicks back the application to a banker when the form is incomplete. KeyBank has developed a list of documents and information small-business owners need when applying. You can learn more here.

Do get updates. Visit the U.S. Treasury website, linked here, and SBA’s web pages often for updates. Greenlee says that will give business owners the most current information on any changes in the program.

Do be patient: “I understand if I’m a customer I just want a response,” Meilstrup said. “We’re working on that piece of it. I totally understand it’s hard to be patient when they’re worried. We’re telling our customers we’re working extremely hard to take care of you. Don’t take the absence of a response as meaning we’re ignoring you.”

You cannot use IRS 1099 workers as your employees: While this may not be an issue in the front-end when applying for the loan and calculating the relief amount, it may become an issue when small businesses are asking for the loan forgiveness down the road. Double-check your payroll calculation and total number of employees. On April 10, the SBA will allow independent contractors and self-employed individuals to apply for the loan relief program. Typically, those entities file their taxes using 1099 forms.

Do not start new entities and apply for loan: The PPP program allows businesses to separately apply for a loan for every business where a person/persons may have a beneficial ownership. But all entities under one beneficial ownership must have been an active business by Feb. 15.

Sum of your holdings cannot go past 500 employees: This provision is complicated. Hotels and restaurant chains are exempt from this rule, and late last week the SBA added franchise owners who employ more than 500 people to that exemption list as well. The only caveat: No single outlet could employ more than 500 people. For every other business, the 500-worker maximum number is in play.

Don't miscalculate: Complete your own calculation ahead of time to make sure you borrow as much as you qualify for the PPP relief. Remember that in the event some of your loan is not forgiven in the final calculation, it will end up being a 1 percent loan for a few years — still not a bad deal.

 


April 8, 2020
Seen on Twitter - perfect example for how to get your info out on Social Media.





New! Same Day deliveries to your home or business at minimal or no cost to you...from Arizona Art Supply! - https://mailchi.mp/arizonaartsupply.com/new-same-day-deliveries-to-your-home-or-business-at-minimal-or-no-cost-to-youfrom-arizona-art-supply We want you to stay safe...so stay home and let us deliver straight to your home or business.  Call us at 602-264-9514 to order or for more info!










April 7, 2020
Helpful Information

Namta, as a service to its members, has compiled the following resources that address the financial assistance for small businesses that have been enacted by Congress in COVID - 19 Response legislation.  We have included links that provide further details for each component of the Federal stimulus packages.
 
Effective April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act  (FFCRA) provides Federal funding for the reimbursement of expenses related to paid Family Leaves through refundable tax credits.
 
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs
 
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed by Congress on March 27, 2020 also contains several financial stimulus provisions that pertain to our members.

 
Small Business Administration Loans
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - this program effective April 3rd, 2020,  provides for forgivable loans to small businesses, individual artists and contractors to pay their employees or themselves and other eligible expenses during the COVID-19 crisis.
   https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP--Fact-Sheet.pdf
 
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) - this program provides low interests loans for small businesses in emergencies.
https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance  https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
 
Here is an article about the different loans: 
https://www.nav.com/blog/covid-disaster-loans-vs-paycheck-protection-loans-590269/

 
U.S. Department of the Treasury (IRS)
Employee Retention Tax Credit - this program provides new tax credits for businesses which are experiencing significant revenue losses due to the COVID – 19 crisis and maintain their employees.
https://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-the-employee-retention-tax-credit
 

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (UIPL) - Unemployment must be filed through the pertinent state agency.  Each state has different eligibility requirements, paid unemployment benefit amounts, length of unemployment.  This program provides federal assistance in addition to your states’ benefits.
 https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200402-0
 
 .

PLEASE NOTE: Namta would be happy to address any general questions regarding this information but if you should have any specific questions regarding your individual circumstances we advise that you contact your accountant or financial advisor.



April 6, 2020

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
from CDC.gov


Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Someone in self-quarantine stays separated from others, and they limit movement outside of their home or current place. A person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they could have the virus without feeling symptoms. Quarantine helps limit further spread of COVID-19.

Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).




April 6, 2020
found in USA Today

Curbside pickup used to be a popular perk. Now it’s a public health necessity.

As the nation continues to grapple with the deadly coronavirus and social distancing guidelines extended through April 30, a growing number of retailers are using the same technology that has helped with crowd control during holiday shopping to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 for consumers and employees.

Buy-online-pickup-in-store orders, which includes curbside, jumped 87% year over year between late February and March 29, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

“As the public became more informed on COVID-19, we saw a rush to stock up on essentials," Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst for Adobe, told USA TODAY. “But, increased awareness of social distancing meant that consumers grew weary of spending too much time inside physical stores.”



April 3, 2020
If you believe you are eligible, the application process opens TODAY April 3, 2020 for the Paycheck Protection Program, and you must act immediately as there is limited funding.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program


The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

If you meet the requirements this loan may be forgivable.

For more details and the application https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses




April 2, 2020
Good example from Namta Member Pin-So for your FB and Twiter - get all the info they need into a paragraph.


Pin-So is an Art Supplies Store and a Visual and Decorative Art School.  During the coronavirus (COVID-95) shutdown, our online shopping at www.pin-so.com is available. You can also call-in (418-651-7682) or email us ([email protected]) your order and we will call you back for payment before shipping. Our artists are doing Live Demonstrations regularly on our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pinso.inc). Our Live Demonstrations and other interesting Videos built with our artists can be viewed on our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pinso.inc) and on our YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGcrF07ZZA6v_moh6LEk7DQ) and we will add others. Finally, we also organize online Art Classes via Messenger (https://pin-so.getpayd.com/catalog/311560C/online-art-classes/&lc=setLang&lang=EN). Please keep safe and continue enjoying Art from home to help going thru this moment.




April 2, 2020

Great Info - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources



Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.



SBA

  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance
  • SBA Debt Relief
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans
  • Guidance for Businesses and Employers
  • SBA Products and Resources
  • Government Contracting
  • Local Assistance





April 2, 2020
We saw this today on Instagram from Namta Member Artist Archive and thought it might be a cool link to post on your site and communications, for your customers.


In the face of the unknown, artists have unsurprisingly gotten creative about how they are changing their artistic practice.

However, if you, like many, are finding that you need additional financial resources to get you through this time, there are emergency grants available.

We, like many other arts organizations right now, have complied a list of emergency resources for artists as well as an ongoing list of crowdfunding efforts to provide financial relief for artists. Head to the link in our bio for the complete list!

If you have a resource that we haven’t mentioned, please send us an email and we will add it to the list and keep evolving it over the next few weeks! Stay healthy everyone!

LINK  https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/financial-relief-resources-for-artists-during-covid-19




April 1, 2020
This cartoon character and easel caught our eyes this morning on Instagram. Great way to catch the attention of your customers to let them know what your doing with online classes or instructional videos - especially for the kids at home.







March 31, 2020
Found on a Namta Member Retailer's website - short and sweet - says it all.



Blue Rooster Art Supply


Stay Home L.A. - we'll send to you!

•    For inquiries or to order items not listed on the site:
•    Email us at [email protected], or send a DM to Instagram @blueroosterart
•    Tell us what you'd like to order and we'll assemble a receipt and collect your payment via PayPal or card over the phone.
•    We ship for FREE on orders of $25 or more.
•    And Voila!
You've stocked up on art supplies and supported small, independent business while doing it!
Note: Please be patient, we are working hard to help everyone in order. Love you Los Angeles

 


March 30, 2020
Just a few tips.

  • Keep your suppliers in the loop on what is happening with your store
  • Increase your social media presence
  • Update, refresh, or learn Social Media and Tech skills

 


March 30, 2020
Many Art Supply Retailers are putting together kits for kids and artists.  Orders can be called, emailed, or placed online, depending what each store offers for communication. Lakeshore Art Supplies in Sheboygan, Wisconsin  is a great example.


Seen on Instagram - "Our story drawing kits are perfect for keeping your child's creativity and imagination sharp! Each kit includes a story drawing book complete with story ideas, colored pencil set, and eraser/sharpener. All for just $15! Free local delivery!"

@lakeshoreartsupplies









    March 28, 2020
    Seen on Instagram today. A cool thing for your kids.
    Or, maybe an idea for your retail store.



    The Craft Studio
    in NYC is hosting online Zoom classes for $10/each.

    If you're not already familiar with Zoom, maybe today is a good day to look into it and see if your store can use it to stay connected with customers and artists.

     




    March 27, 2020
    Interesting post on Instagram by Akamia Art Supplies in Hawaii



    We have been granted a very tenuous exemption by the state because we offer educational materials and materials for people who work from home.



    • We are practicing very strict sanitation and social distancing policy and urge you stay home unless you absolutely need to go out.
    • We are working alone, and the phones have been busy. Please be patient if you call and can't get through.
    • We are offering only pick up and mail orders.
    • We will be in the store answering calls from 10-2 Monday through Friday and during those hours items will be available for pickup. Please e-mail or call us and do not place your order through the website. It does not indicate what we have in stock, and many items are not listed there.
    • Payment must be made via credit card on the phone prior to pickup.



    March 26, 2020
    A Namta Retailer in South Carolina told us what some Manufacturers are doing  . . .

    "I have received some unexpected free samples from a couple of Namta Manufacturers. That has been very welcomed. I actually have a little time to test these samples. Things are tough, but we will get through this."

     


    March 26, 2020
    Namta Suppliers staying in touch
    On March 24, this was sent out by Namta Supplier DecoArt

    To ensure the safety of our employees and their families, DecoArt has taken the following steps as of Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

    Business Operations:

    • We have ceased Manufacturing and Shipping operations effective immediately.
    • At this time, we are projected to resume these Operations on Monday, April 13th in a limited capacity ensuring a safe return to the workplace.
    • Customer Service and Sales force will continue remote work in a reduced staffing capacity but are available directly for your needs with no interruption.
    - Retailers, Distributors, and our Valued Customers:  Product Orders will still be received and scheduled accordingly as we look forward to fulfilling your product needs following our return.
    - DecoArt.com and Social Artworking.com Customers:  We will continue to accept your on-line orders however we are unable to fulfill them at this time due to our suspended operations.  We are looking forward to resuming operations and filling these orders as quickly as possible!
    • Marketing and Product Development efforts will continue remotely to create and share creative inspiration that we need today and in the future.

    Supplier and Customer Visits and Travel:

    • Customer Visits, Supplier Visits, Show Travel or any designated travel remains cancelled for an indefinite period of time.
    • Our IT Capabilities allow for you to have calls with the DecoArt Team via Conference, Webinar or Skype as required.

    Inspiration and Creativity:

    • Our Creative Team continues to share enhanced creative projects and inspirational ideas during this time.
    • With the impact of businesses closing we are committed to ensuring that our Makers have an outlet to do what they enjoy most.
    • We look forward to you visiting our Website and Social Media Platforms for these ideas and inspiration.

    These times are like no other we have experienced in our lifetimes.  DecoArt sends their best to all of our Employees, Customers, Vendors and Makers and we are holding everyone who has been touched by this crisis close to our creative hearts.



    March 25, 2020
    Emailed from Namta Manufacturer Member U-Mark


    This is to inform you, that, based on The State of Illinois EXECUTIVE ORDER IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 (COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8) dated March 20, 2020, U-Mark is considered an essential business per art. 12, paragraph N (Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations) and paragraph T (Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries).
     
    We have organized our operations to enhance safety and health of employees – keeping vulnerable employees home, having office workers work from home - and practicing upgraded sanitation, health and distancing protocols. We plan to operate in this manner until April 7th, 2020 and/or longer, based on any new official executive orders.
     
    What this mean to you, our valued customer:
     
    •    Your Orders will be shipped normally. At the moment we are not experiencing supply chain or production issues. If we do, we will let you know promptly.
    •    You can place orders and communicate with us as usual, please use [email protected] as a preferred method.
    •    Feel free to call or email us with any questions.
    •    We will continue with transparent and consistent communications with you.
     



    March 25, 2020
    Today we received more from our retailers about the reality of handling this situation.



    Carol from Salt Bay Art Supply in Damariscotta, Maine, says "If people in the arts can’t be creative, who can?"  She will be taking email and phone orders for same day pick up from an outside receptacle starting April 1st. She will be doing this on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future.

    Carol regrets they do not have the staff to make deliveries and, in order to limit exposure, will not be able to mail product. Carol added, "Stay safe, everyone. Keep your distance and keep your sense of humor."




    Lawrence Art Supplies in Hove, East Sussex, United Kingdom, has been forced to temporarily close up shop, but  their website and telephone lines are still taking mail orders for UK and beyond  - wherever is still possible to ship. www.lawrence.co.uk









    Preston Arts Center
    in Louisville, Kentucky is offering:

    • Curbside Pickup and Delivery (within 30 minutes of the store)
    • eMail and call-In orders
    • Some demos and instructional video available
    • Visit www.prestonartscenter.com/




    March 24, 2020
    Today we asked, and received information from Namta retailers about what how they are handling this, and what they have for artists during these strange times.



    California
    ARCH Art & Drafting Supply is offering Drive-By-Pick-Up and Delivery. We are taking phone and email orders currently.

    We are not open for browsing or walk ups. Please call ahead. We are working on adding more and more to our webstore. We'll be posting some giveaways on our Instagram @archsupplies in the coming weeks too!

    Facebook




    Hawaii
    "Our state goes on lock down tonight at 12:01.  We are currently offering curbside service only with pick ups from 10 am to 2 pm.  We will continue this as long as it makes sense and is allowed by the powers that be.  We are asking customers to call ahead and pay over the phone or email with a phone number so we can have them pay. Credit cards only. Whew! Crazy times."  -  Johanna Wiseman,  Akamai Art Supply 

     

     



    Connecticut
    Due to the large volume of interactions we have with students and faculty, this morning Hull's received a waiver from the State of Connecticut allowing us to remain open. Our primary focus will be to help students who are still in town finish their projects.

    I will be here roughly 10AM - 4PM every day depending on your needs. The door will be locked so please knock loudly or ring the phone when you get to the door. We will be admitting no more than 2 customers at a time.

    I am continuing to clean and sanitize on a continual basis but I ask that you touch product as a little as possible. Consider products in your mind rather than them picking them up and pondering before deciding on purchase.

    I will let you in if you have a clear idea of what you need, no casual browsing at this time. If there is a line outside please be considerate and shop as quickly as possible. Anyone waiting outside the store must maintain social distancing of at least six feet.

    You may also continue to order online at www.hullsnewhaven.com, via email at [email protected] or by phone at 203-865-4855.






    California

    Lenz Arts is doing limited curbside service on certain days. Details/updates at LenzArts.com.






     




    Jerry's Live
    - Every Tuesday starting at 5:30pm EST on both Jerry’s official Facebook and YouTube, is a Jerry’s LIVE broadcast which is designed to help those create more, learn about art materials, be inspired and learn - it all for the arts and give everyone a chance to learn and be creative, and is interactive with Q&A. Jerry's Live Schedule

    "Now more than ever it is so important for us to continue and so we lift the spirits of artists and creative folks to inspire hope, stress relief and just wash away the anxiety in their lives - it has had to be moved to a remote location to have it still happening."

    At Home Weekly Challenge- Every week we are giving away $850 in ecards just for entering based on a challenge/theme
    Free Art Lessons - online art instructional videos along with the supply lists.

    See full list here



    March 23, 2020
    On Instagram from a Namta Supplier

    @legionpaper

      

    We’ve created an EDU page with some of our favorite videos & tutorials.
    We’ll continue to add more throughout the next few weeks. Share your work from these tutorials and let us know if you have any you’d like us to share for the community. We’re all in this together.
    Legionpaper.com/EDU or check out the link in our bio.
    #CantQuarantineArt.
    Art by @jhaamsey.

    #WeArePaper #LegionPaper




    March 23, 2020
    From PartnerShip Shipping - a Namta Benefit Company
     PartnerShip.com/NAMTA


    PartnerShip remains
    committed to supporting you and keeping your shipments moving during this ever-changing situation, with this statement.

    "We are taking every possible measure to ensure the safety of our staff while also providing you with the same level of service you’ve come to expect from PartnerShip. Our goal is to minimize any further disruptions to your business. We continue to monitor the situation and will make any changes needed to continue to serve you. If you have any concerns, we are here to help."

     

     


    March 22, 2020
    All in it together.



    Alpha 6 is offering to dropship orders for any Art Supply store that wants to put Alpha 6 products on their website.





    March 21, 2020

    Information from:




    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published Federal Register notices that provided details for the recently announced temporary travel restrictions on both the Northern and Southern Border. The restrictions are effective for the next 30 days. The restrictions apply to non-essential travel across the borders.

    Temporary Travel Restrictions Applicable to Land Ports of Entry and Ferries Service between the United States and Canada

    Temporary Travel Restrictions Applicable to Land Ports of Entry and Ferries Service Between the United States and Mexico


    March 20, 2020
    We found this great way of communicating to customers on Instagram and Facebook from Namta Member Rath Art Supplies in Vancouver BC, Canada.





    March 19, 2020
    On the lighter side, on The Today Show, we found this.


    In an interview with Savannah Guthrie, Jimmy Fallon says he is "doing lot of painting and crafts, Arts & Crafts . . ." with his two daughters.







    March 19, 2020
    we found this in
    MacPherson's ArtDog

    Minimizing Contact:
    Curbside Pickup, Delivery & Online Stores

    Stores that are being impacted by shelter-in-place, self-quarantining or social distancing have mobilized this week to reconfigure their business. They are taking innovative steps including curbside pickup and delivery. Even if you are not at that point, consider setting up systems now. If you have an online store, bring the focus to the shopping aspect on your site, and promote deals via social.

    The Art Supply Depo, an art supply store with two locations in Bowling Green and Toledo, Ohio, is a part of a community of retailers leading the charge with innovative responses. Owner Jules Webster shares some words of wisdom, and offers others in our art supply community to use the store’s copy on social media to edit it to suit your needs.

    “My suggestion to other retailers is to switch to curbside pick up ASAP. We’re doing well with curbside pick up… I think the reason we are successful with it is because we made the decision to switch fast, and were one of the first in our business community to make the change. Our announcement didn’t get lost in the sea of other business notifications. I’m not saying it’s not possible now, but do it fast, and announce it consistently on social media.”



    March 18, 2020
    We were able to send these answers from Namta Manufacturers
    to a Namta Member who asked:

    I hope this message finds you well and healthy! I wanted to once again pick your brain for potential resources. In the SF north bay area we are fairly certain that a "shelter in place" order will come down in the next couple of days, which would require all 'non-essential' businesses to go dark. I know this is the case in New York and Los Angeles, as well as San Francisco and Marin counties, and I wonder if any other small to medium sized manufacturers are dealing with this, and how they are handling it. Right now we have measures in place for our warehouse employees that allow them to work different shifts with fewer people so they can be farther apart, as well as increased cleaning and sanitizing, and our office folks can work remotely. Do you know of any manufacturers of our size (we have roughly 50 employees) who are in or are planning for a full shutdown if mandated by local government? If not, totally okay- I just thought I would check as you are so well connected and have always been so helpful.


    ANSWER 1
    No plans to shutdown unless there is a local/state directive.  However we have put in place precautions similar to what is written by the namta member.  Please found our plans below.

    Immediate actions taken -

    -    An official letter was created to update clients about the current situation, and all measures we are taking to maintain our facilities
    -    Policies on High traffic and personal space surface cleaning were established.  We must follow strict BRC food safety regulations, however, we have increased measures due to the virus. Areas are to be cleaned every 4hrs and once before the end of day.  Disinfectant (5:1 water: Clorox/18% concentration) to be sprayed on all doors, handles, workspaces, keyboards, restrooms
    -    No Visitors allowed without appointment.
    -    Heavy duty nitrile gloves were ordered and to be used by all employees at all time.  Should be changed every two hours and when employee uses the rest room and take breaks.
    -    Sanitation and cleaning chemicals were located and purchased; Clorox and Disinfectant.

    Actions Pending:
    -    Establishing every 2 hours wash hands and gloves replacement for all line workers. (Production & QC)
    -    Assign and designate cleaning personnel (door and handle disinfection).
    -    Coordinating a weekly safety meeting amongst management, as story continues to develop
    -    Create a budget for wages for restricted workers. Please see link from NJ labor in regards Lost wages due to Covid 19. Note:  We are currently discussing offering small, short term loans for all employees if they have to take leave, fall ill, or we have a shutdown due to contamination.
    -    Continue to look for emergency resources (Cleaning supplies, Extra PPE, Emergency disinfection Quotes and Temp Labor Quotes)
    I hope this helps


    ANSWER 2
    Our situation: we have headquarters and warehouse in Tuscany, that is not heavily affected by Covid 19, we have production in North East, similar situation and we have general headquarters (mother company) in Milan, one of the worst clusters.

    Here in Tuscany and in production in North East we adopted the following measures:
    - fever measurements in the warehouse to all workers entering in and once leaving;
    - distancing more than 1 meter among any worker;
    - masks (PPF2 or PPF3) for everybody;
    - alternate shifts whenever is possible in the offices to keep anybody safe and at the same time keep service to our public (suppliers, customers and so on)
    - great focus on internal information saying that is up to anybody to detect and inform the company if we feel any of the symptoms (fever, coughing, etc.) and immediately stay home (unfortunately it is really hard to have a test);
     
    In Milan, we are doing smart working, the virus is really too much spread out to adopt different precautions. Hopefully in two-three weeks also there we might think to have the same as above.

    ANSWER 3
    • ...multiple people have taken off, so we're working with a skeleton crew.
    • We are not closing
    • PA is allowing manufacturing to stay open
    • We have 8 employees
    • Created a safe/low risk environment
    • Recommending everyone wear masks
    • Have disposable gloves available
    • Delivery drivers are not allowed in the space
    • Have cancelled all outside visitors
    • If an employee has a weakened immune system or does not feel safe, they are able to stay home with weekly status updates for their return.
    • Trying to navigate weird times.
    Hope this helps!

    ANSWER 4
    We are limiting our office/warehouse visits.  When at warehouse: we’re mandating to wear masks.  Administration is working at home/remote.

    ANSWER 5
    We aren’t planning yet for a full shutdown, but we’ve considered that into our fluid plan that we are currently working with.  We’re doing the things that company below mentioned, but if we have to shut down, that means we stop shipping.  Then that would mean that certain office personnel and management would most likely continue to work, but from home, doing things like tech help via the phone, answering customer emails, working on projects, etc…

    ANSWER 6
    In NJ and PA – they have defined “essential services”… and in both states, it seems that manufacturing is considered essential.  In NY  the governor has not yet declared for ALL businesses to close.  We’re hopeful that he’ll follow the same path as NJ and PA, should he declare the full shutdown of businesses in NYS.  

    So be sure to read the fine print of what is included in “essential” businesses.  If you can continue – do follow best practices of social distancing.  We have a two-shift operation in manufacturing working 4, 10 hour days.  We’re moving at least 30% of each shift to 3, 12 hour days of operations.. so that we’ll manufacture 7 days per week and provide more space on the manufacturing floor.

    ANSWER 7
    We are limiting our office/warehouse visits.  When at warehouse: we’re mandating to wear masks.  Administration is working at home/remote.