HAGERSTOWN, Md (WDVM) – With Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s order to close down non-essential businesses and keep restaurants as a drive-thru or carry-out only, small businesses around state are feeling the financial losses.
One Maryland business in Hagerstown is trying to keep its sales while adhering to safe practices during the coronavirus pandemic. The winery is bringing cuteness to customers with a new special delivery employee: A dog.
Soda is a special animal member of Stone House Urban Winery in north Hagerstown, who delivers wine bottles to customers on the parking lot due to social distancing. Soda is also a regular “employee” in the store, he regularly entertains wine tasters in the store.
Soda gets very positive reviews by customers: “They love it, they love Soda, they miss Soda, they keep telling them they will be back soon. People have never been here before come in just to meet Soda, watch him do the delivery, people with kids want them to see he do delivery.”
Like others, Stone House Urban Winery has been hit hard by the governor’s order to close dine-in services. “We are the tasting room, we have a few food items, snack items, we also allow customers to bring in food.” says Lori Yata, the co-owner of the store. She said the tasting room usually gets 20-50 customers a day. But when the foot traffic decreased, she had to let servers go temporarily. However, she does bring them back occasionally to do some work-related tasks.
“They realize we are struggling as well, and we are trying everything we can to keep them coming in as much as we can,” Yata said.
But she is optimistic about things will going on in the future, “We are going to look for the positive side of this, closing the store allow us to do things we normally can not keep up with, we are making tons of wine, we hope to get into the festival in the fall, which means we gotta make more wine.”
If you wish to visit Soda, he can be found Stone House Urban Winery in north Hagerstown by Lowe’s, 12810 Shank Farm Way, Hagerstown, MD 21742, Wednesday – Sunday 2:00 – 6:00 afternoon.