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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Barker

The COVID-19 Diaries: Musings from A Small Business Owner

Contributed by Jessi Zilka

Jessi is the founder and owner of Jesse Carl Vinyl, a boutique record store located in Lakeland, Florida. If you're looking to add to your collection, find some new jams, or looking to expand your musical horizons, check out her "Quarantine Grab Bags" available through her online store.

How long have you been under a stay-in-place order?

Since March 30, 2020.

What impact has COVID-19 had on you professionally?

Aside from having to shut down my business for at least a month, I also am unable to see my family—my grandparents and young nieces specifically. It’s incredibly difficult because I’m very close to my family, and we do a lot together.

What does your “new normal” look like as a result of COVID-19?

Working as hard as I can via social media and an eCommerce website to keep my business as up, running, and relevant as possible. I know that I’m not, but I often feel like a nuisance as I live stream and post constantly through the day in order to get customers’ attention.

Is there anything that you are struggling with as a result of the stay-in-play orders?

I’ve never been one to have extreme anxiety, but during this time, I have developed a form of anxiety. My appetite is regularly compromised, and I’ve been struggling to sleep.

Do you have any outlets that have made the quarantine period easier?

I’m thankful to have my husband here with me, and I’ve been focusing so much on work that it’s made the time pass more quickly.

What’s something that you’ve learned as a result of social distancing/quarantine? Not to take advantage of the time you have. I need to hug my nieces a bit closer and be more present in extended family’s life.

What’s something you’ve learned from working from home?

I’m more capable of understanding and figuring things out for myself than I give credit. I always say I’m not tech-savvy, yet I built my online store from the ground up. I have to be confident in myself—that’s part of being a smart business owner.

What’s your favorite book/artist/band/album/TV show right now?

My favorite artist is Pearl Jam (they just dropped a new album called Gigaton!), and I’ve been binging Friends because it’s what makes me feel the happiest.

Have you tried any new recipes during the quarantine?

My husband and I try to eat as healthy as possible, so most of the time we stick to meat and veggies.

What’s one thing you would share with your past self prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Don’t take for granted stability. Always work hard, push to get things done and be better, and appreciate the world.

What’s something you’re looking forward to after COVID-19?


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