Here at Spectrio, we have been inspired by the way local businesses initially reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have adapted to the constantly-changing regulations and guidelines. Their ingenuity inspired our #SpectrioCares video series, which showcases three local businesses in the Buffalo, NY region. 

Adapting to frequently-changing CDC safety guidelines and local regulations was a challenge, but each of the business owners was able to adjust their procedures and update business practices to get through the pandemic. 

Black Iron Bystro – Quick Decisions

For Bryan Mecozzi, owner of Black Iron Bystro – a semi-casual restaurant in Blasdell – difficult decisions had to be made quickly, including cutting hours and furloughing employees. The uncertainty of whether to close the restaurant’s doors weighed on him. 

“We’re going to go in and sell all of the perishables we have on hand first, then shift to takeout only,” said Mecozzi at the start of the pandemic. “Even then, there was still a chance I would have to close my doors indefinitely.”


AC Meat Company – Busier Than Ever

Meanwhile, Steve Ceccarelli, owner of AC Meat Company experienced the opposite. His business – a butcher and deli located in Lake View – was even busier than before the pandemic, and his employees were working additional hours to meet customer demand. 

“During the past two months of lockdown, we’re busting at the seams. We’re an essential business, literally working day and night,” said Ceccarelli. “Honestly, the demand is overwhelming. The pace that we are working is just mind-boggling.” 


Undergrounds Coffee – Changing Methods

At Undergrounds Coffee in Buffalo’s Historic First Ward neighborhood , co-owners Sara Heidinger and Bridget Morris used their newly-developed mobile app to adjust their ordering and pick-up procedures, which helped ease their transition to a lower-contact business model.

“We were very fortunate to be one of the businesses that were allowed to stay open throughout all of this,” said Heidinger and Morris. “We’ve been able to bring a couple of our employees back, and it’s not so much a day-by-day touch-base, it’s more week-by-week so it feels a lot better than it did in the beginning.”


Strength of Community

In addition to the challenges faced by each of the businesses, woven through their stories is a message of strength, positivity, and the support they received from their communities.   

Giving back to the community was also important, specifically for Bryan Mecozzi at Black Iron Bystro: 

“Something as simple as eating can make your day complicated when you’re dealing with an issue this vast and ever-changing,” Mecozzi said. “With generous donations from individuals and organizations like Spectrio, we’ve been able to feed many workers at Mercy Hospital as well as Buffalo General.” 

His support has inspired smiles out of stress and generated a positive impact on those who Mecozzi dubs “new-age soldiers” – front line workers like doctors, nurses, administrative staff, emergency personnel, and more.

The Black Iron Bystro video series is available here; the AC Meat Company series is available here; and the Undergrounds Coffee series is available here. For questions about the series, please contact Megan Colby, Spectrio Communications Director.