‘Life-Sustaining’ IT Business, Sole Proprietor: How 2 Companies Are Coping

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – How is your company faring as well all navigate the unprecedented, in our lifetimes, the COVID-19 pandemic?

We’ve heard from numerous organizations since we sent a letter to the business community, asking readers to share their stories and what they’re doing to help others through this crisis.

Here and across the country, we share standard refrain: “We’re all in this together.” And we are, and we will come out of this healthier, (evenutally) wealthier and (hopefully) wiser.

What follows are how a large company and a sole proprietor are functioning in this new (and temporary) business world:

Valley Office Solutions & Peak I.T.

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Valley Office Solutions and Peak I.T. have been identified as “life-sustaining” businesses that provide essential IT services to law enforcement, emergency personnel, physicians and hospitals, and numerous businesses.

“As this COVID19 event began to widen, we began to plan ahead by ordering equipment and building VPN [virtual private network] connections for each of our team members who would be able to work from their homes in case a shelter-in-place order was enacted,” says Steve Blakeman, founder.

On Sunday, March 22, the day before Gov. Mike DeWine ordered Ohioans to shelter in place, Bryan Blakeman, general manager, sent an email to employees that anticipated such an order. He outlined an 18-point plan that itemized how the company would operate “with as few people in our physical office as possible.”

In addition to personal safety precautions, employees are required, in the office or on a sales or service call, to practice social distancing.

“When taking a service call, I would like dispatch to ask the client if they have any known cases of COVID-19 in their office. If they do, please let the technical director know so that we can determine if it is a call that we can even do,” Blakeman said.

“We are all going through a lot and pressures are high. Let’s all just do the best we can do and let common sense be our guide.”

Steve Blakeman echoed his son’s can-do spirit. In a separate email to employees, he said, “One thing is certain… we are confident that this is temporary, and that we will come out on the other side of this even better, and stronger that before. “

Buckeye Attorney & Courier Service

WARREN, Ohio – “Being a sole proprietor and owner/operator, I’m in a very difficult spot,” says John Richards, owner/operator of Buckeye Attorney & Courier Service.

“I’m a court appointed process server and litigation support specialist. I’m dependent upon the courts being open and fully operational for the majority of my work. And even if they are open, many of my clients, law firms, banks, insurance companies, etc., are also closed like so many other businesses.

‘I have three young children at home so there are some benefits to the current climate we are experiencing. My office is in my home, which allows me to tend to their needs while they are off from school and gives us extra time to be together, which is very nice, too.

“My vehicle is also another office from which I operate. So gas prices being low also has been a benefit. There is a trade off for everything I guess.”

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