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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Christmas Event 2020 | Small Business Adapts

Sunday, November 22, 2020

This year, 2020, is the TENTH year for the French Country Christmas Event. Can a small business offer its customers a beautiful Christmas shopping event in a safe way? How does a small business adapt to new ways of doing business during an international health crisis and provide safe shopping experiences? 

French Country Christmas Event in the garden shed for the tenth year
The answers lie in following health officials' guidelines. 

  • Wear a mask. 
  • Wash your hands.
  • Distance yourself from others by at least 6 feet. 
To comply with these guidelines, my small business has found new ways, to my business, to implement safety precautions.  

Read about how I have adapted to provide a safe shopping experience for my customers, and look at this year's garden shed photos to get ideas about how to arrange Christmas decor in your own home. 

F R E N C H   C O U N T R Y   

C H R I S T M A S   E V E N T   

S M A L L   B U S I N E S S   N E W   W A Y S 

French Country Christmas Event flyer for 2020

In-Person Shopping by Appointment

Instead of throwing open my garden shed's doors to whomever shows up as in years past, this year customers must make an appointment to shop. Appointments are not a new idea for some businesses. Beauty salons, real estate agents, music teachers, ... have booked appointments forever. 

New open shelves with gold bracket supports filled with items for sale in the French Country Christmas Event
But, this is the first time I booked appointments for shopping the French Country Christmas Event. I will admit learning how to use an appointment application (app) that allows customers to book their own appointments online was a steep learning curve. I began researching the app this summer, and by October I finally knew it well enough to create the booking calendar. 

A herd of gold metal deer show how NOT to shop at this year'sFrench Country Christmas Event


Booking appointments controls the number of people in the small garden shed at the same time. Thus, appointments control the distance between individual shoppers and between shoppers and me. 

In years past, several people would show up at the same time causing a 'herd' of shoppers close to each other. Then there would be a lull between shoppers with no one in the garden shed. Appointments are for a maximum of two shoppers. The person who books the appointment may bring one other person with her to shop or may shop alone. 

Safety precautions include hand sanitizer and masks to shoppers as they enter the French Country Christmas Event


As in-person shoppers enter the small shop, they will begin at the mask and hand sanitizer station just inside the door. 

First, customers will clean their hands by applying provided hand sanitizer before touching anything else. The sanitizer will eliminate germs they bring. 

When shoppers leave the garden shed, they are instructed to re-apply the hand sanitizer to protect themselves from any germs they picked up while shopping. 

Price tags on lighted mercury trees, etched mercury vases, and beehive Christmas ornaments will help shoppers at the French Country Christmas Event
Door handles, hand shopping baskets, and other surfaces will be wiped down with disinfectants between shoppers. 

Price tags aren't visible in the photos, but will be visible so shoppers can see prices without having to pick up items. 

A large 28.5" reclining gold deer is the centerpiece on a buffet in this year'sFrench Country Christmas Event


Officials in the county where the garden shed is located have decreed everyone must wear a mask to enter places of business. When shoppers book their appointments for the French Country Christmas Event, they are instructed, "MASK REQUIRED." 

Who hasn't driven to a business this year and discovered they had forgotten her/his mask? 

Hands up! 

Just this week I went to a food store, and when I pulled into the parking place realized I had left my mask at home. So, I didn't even shut off the car engine. Instead, I drove home, got my mask, and returned to shop.

Disposable masks will be provided to any shopper who arrives at the garden shed without a mask. The masks are located AFTER the hand sanitizer. 

Silver metal stars with rhinestones are displayed in a white ceramic pot in this year's French Country Christmas Event
Shoppers will see some quick and easy decorating ideas like this display of pretty metal stars with rhinestones in a white ceramic flower pot.  

Online Shopping With Curbside Pick Up

For maximum safety, customers may shop online and pick up their purchases. Previously, customers could shop online with shipping for non-local shoppers. For the first time this Christmas season, customers may shop online for local pick up. 

Fresh greenery displays at the pickup location for online shoppers give online shoppers ideas for outdoor decorations at this year's French Country Christmas Event

The pick-up area is decorated with outdoor fresh greenery that gives online shoppers ideas of how to decorate for the season with fresh-cut greenery, foraged green 'horse apples,' and a weatherproof large metal Merry Christmas banner. 

Online shoppers will remain in their cars and someone will place their purchases inside their car trunks or backseats.

Online shopping times are not at the same time as in-person shopping to allow the automated computer system to update inventory counts.

A tall Santa dressed in green velvet holds a Christmas wreath in this year's French Country Christmas Event

Don't want to get on Santa's naughty list 
by selling the same item twice... 
in the store and online. 

Since my small business is a one-woman enterprise, pick-up times will be after in-person shopping times end each day.  

The French Country Christmas Event is designed to provide everyone with a beautiful Christmas sale and a safe shopping experience

Just like large businesses, small businesses have found ways to adapt to meet the needs of their customers.  

The French Country Christmas Event is designed to provide everyone with a beautiful Christmas sale to lift our spirits, but at the same time, to insure a safe shopping experience. 

Wishing you a safe and joyous Christmas, 

{Disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu, I receive compensation for your purchase. See my Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 

S O U R C E S 

BOOK an APPOINTMENT for in-person shopping beginning Dec. 5 ~ Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

SHOP ONLINE beginning Dec. 6  (Sundays, Tuesdays, Fridays) with local curbside pickup beginning Dec. 7 (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays) 

READ SAFETY PRECAUTIONS for in-person shopping