TYLER, Texas — When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the State of Texas, thousands of salon owners were forced to close their businesses. Among them was Akiko Lewis, owner of Salon La'ki'.
However, Lewis did not let the shutdown affect her drive to work. In the weeks after the closure of her business, she opened an online boutique to help drive income.
"I knew that I would have support because of the salon, but literally the day that I opened the business, I actually kind of just flooded in with orders," said Lewis.
Lewis said she wanted to open the boutique for a long time, but her dedication to her salon prevented her from taking the steps needed to begin her next business venture. However, she says she is thankful she seized the opportunity when she did.
"My goals were if I can start off with five orders a week until people find out, you know, what my business is about, I'd be happy," said Lewis. "The first week, I did 50 orders."
Other businesses owners have also used the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to capitalize on the changing economy. Reggie Carter designs websites and social media pages for businesses. With many working from home, he was there to help other business owners looking to increase their online presence.
"Nine times out of 10 everybody I talked to that said, 'Hey, man, I need a website, give me a website now,'" Carter said. "'I got the time. I got more time to sit at home and get my notes together, get my thoughts together, I've got my vision game. I want a website.'"
Thought Carter has been in business since 2012, he says these past few months are the best in his eight year career.
"Right now online is where it's at," Carter said. "And YouTube right now is the best time to have your online presence."