This interview is part of a series chatting with local business owners, artists, organizers and people in our community who are learning to adapt during COVID-19.
Paula & Victoria Watts – Pasta Tavola
Describe your business.
We manufacture a line of frozen ravioli and sauces using quality, real-food ingredients for wholesale across Ontario. We also offer a variety of fresh pasta, sauces and oven-ready meals out of our retail outlet located at 109 N. Front Street.
What does working from home/your workplace look like for you?
There hasn’t been much working from home for us. When COVID hit, demand for our frozen ravioli and sauces increased dramatically so we had to ramp up production.
How have you adapted your operations during the pandemic?
We were fortunate to already be transitioning our company to a more resilient and efficient business model prior to COVID, so those plans continue to roll out. We did however have to pare down our retail offerings and change our normal way of doing business in order to keep up with our wholesale production, while at the same time following COVID safety guidelines in the store.
From our retail shop, we only offer Freezer Bundles and Meal Deals now, which can be ordered ahead and picked up curbside. On our wholesale side, we are seeing some strain in the supply chain (for example, an increase in beef prices), so we are monitoring that closely and will have to make decisions accordingly about our offerings or pricing.
How have you been supported by the community?
Traffic in our retail store has decreased dramatically, however customers continue to purchase and support our brand in our retail outlets throughout the region.
What is something good that has come from this difficult situation?
This pandemic has hastened our decision-making on streamlining our business, which will only make us more resilient and sustainable in the long run. We were already in the middle of a pivot before COVID, but there is nothing like a pandemic to force you to make difficult decisions that you know you need to make (and maybe were delaying?!) in order to put yourself in a better place presently and for the long run.
What advice do you have for other business owners/organizers/artists/etc at this time?
Keep a growth mindset and keep looking at the big picture. We truly believe that there are opportunities in every circumstance. Ask yourself, “What is the next best decision [in these circumstances]?” and then move on.
Stay tuned as we share more local folks who are Makin’ It Work, and check out our weekly interviews (of the same name) on Instagram Live every Friday.