At the Thurston EDC, we define ‘Economic Courage’ as a leader, a business, nonprofit or organization that, while facing economic uncertainty and a radical retraction of “business as usual,” took extraordinary steps to provide a service, a product, and or a support service that made a positive impact to the community and or employees of their organization.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Taylor Shellfish Farms showed Economic Courage, and they have been nominated for an Economic Courage Award!
We asked Taylor Shellfish CEO Bill Taylor to answer some questions about the past year and how his business took extraordinary steps to impact our community positively. His answers are below.
Thurston EDC: What was your biggest challenge this year, and how did you solve it?
Taylor Shellfish: As COVID-19 hit, our business was significantly impacted by a decrease in our Asian market, and before we knew it, we were at 25% of our previous year’s sales and had to lay off 70% of our workforce.
Thurston EDC: What was the biggest change in your business?
Taylor Shellfish: The biggest change was the initial significant reduction in sales, which resulted in a huge decrease in labor. We could still provide some part-time hours for employees and access grant-funded programs and PPP to assist our staff.
Thurston EDC: Will these changes be permanent, or will you go back to the way things were before?
Taylor Shellfish: We don’t hope for all the changes to be permanent. We are lucky that now we are back at 70% of our previous business. The one thing we were able to spend time on was looking at doing more business through an online marketplace, and we hope that’s something that we will continue to grow.
Thurston EDC: What is the biggest thing you learned during the last year related to your business?
Taylor Shellfish: We learned a lot about utilizing labor and understanding mechanization. We spent time researching and understanding a lot of the resources and programs available at both the state and federal levels to assist the business and our employees.
Thurston EDC: Please share a story or words of wisdom from your experience over the last year.
Taylor Shellfish: Don’t be too proud to accept help. When facing something as significant as COVID-19, it’s important to take advantage of the resources available for your business and employees.
*Photos Courtesy Taylor Shellfish