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the occasions lady and

The Next Normal
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

When we published the first issue of Jonesboro Occasions in August 2003, a global pandemic was something that most of us had only heard about through science fiction books and movies. This month, as we celebrate the 17th anniversary of Occasions magazine, we find ourselves in the middle of the most challenging year in our history.

There are many concerns you have as a small business owner, but the impact of a global pandemic was never on my radar. The coronavirus has upended the life of nearly every person on the planet. Like many other small businesses across the country, we are doing whatever we can to improvise and survive during these uncertain times. We are simply trying to tread water until we can find our way to the next normal.

Although we are still adapting, we were fortunate that we began transitioning to a remote work staff nearly a year before the impact of COVID-19 hit locally. After deciding to downsize our office space, we implemented new technology in April 2019 and began learning to work effectively as a team that no longer occupied a shared space. The months that we had of publishing the magazine with a remote staff before the world turned upside down were a godsend. By the time the pandemic hit, we had adapted to our new routine.

In the 17 years that we have published Occasions, I have incurred obstacles that I never thought I would have to overcome. Some of them have taken a toll, but at the end of the day, you do what you can to adapt and move forward with the people who support you.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ebb and flow and wreak havoc across the world, there is so much uncertainty about what the future holds. I am thankful for those who have contributed to the success of the magazine during the past 17 years. For now, the health and safety of our team and our families is the most important thing. We will celebrate this year’s anniversary without fanfare and do our best to continue to roll with whatever comes our way.