SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– From purchasing products needed for their business through video-chats, to ramping up their online presence – some local businesses are getting creative with how they run their operations as the pandemic lingers on.

For the first time in 14 years, CEO and founder Askinosie Chocolate, Shawn Askinosie, found himself unable to travel overseas to meet with farmers who grow cocoa beans – beans Askinosie uses in the production of their chocolate.

“It would have been my 46th origin trip to meet with farmers in the Philippines and the Amazon and Ecuador and Tanzania,” Askinosie said. “Initially, I thought this will be one of the biggest professional challenges and threats potentially to the viability of our business.”

However, Askinosie said by taking time to develop a friendship with farmers, his business is thriving.

“They’ve wanted to check how we’re doing, and so that consequence of friendship has translated into maybe some of the highest quality cocoa beans that we’ve ever received without me going there,” Askinosie said.

He says they’ve been meeting any way they can.

“Facebook video, Facetime, Whatsapp… Any way we can do it.”

Nightcire Handmade, a family-owned woodworking business in Republic has also had to adjust to the pandemic.

“There’s been a few products we’ve had to discontinue or change because we can no longer get that lumber,” Nightcire Handmade owner Paul Spangenberg said.

While lumber mills haven’t been too affected much by COVID-19, Spangenberg said having an online presence can help to keep your business afloat.

“It’s not going to stop,” Spangenberg said. “People are going to stay online. So as the online businesses adapt to being able to take care of that, okay, now we can have that inventory. We can use the money we made over Christmas to make sure we have inventory next time.”

Both business owners recommend seeking out advice from others on areas of operations you aren’t sure about or find yourself struggling with.