By Deb Everts

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of communities all over the world. With local and state governments banning large gatherings and warning against close contact, most Ellicottville businesses are running their operations either online or by takeout orders. Some are closed down for the duration.

As with all communities everywhere, Ellicottville residents are hunkered down to keep themselves and others safe from the coronavirus, but they still need goods and services. Local people are encouraged to support their small businesses in any way they can. 

As of March 16, the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce has listed all businesses with ordering and shopping options on its website at ellicottvilleny.com. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these enterprises are experiencing a rapidly changing health and business environment that requires them to change the way they do business. Their challenges include economic factors, employee layoffs and time constraints. 

According to the chamber’s website, all of Ellicottville’s restaurants and bars are closed to sit-down dining, but some are offering take-out, curbside service and delivery. For a full listing of the local establishments, people may visit a restaurant link on the chamber’s website. 

A few businesses have been thinking “out of the box” and finding ways to safely serve the public. Nick Pitillo, owner of the popular Italian restaurants, Villaggio in Ellicottville and Osteria 166 in Buffalo, has launched a new frozen meal order and delivery service online at StockTheFreezer.com. The site allows individuals to order freshly prepared, immediately frozen meals from a menu selection of classics and family favorites made in his restaurants.

Everyday is pizza day at Tim and Bonnie’s Pizza on Bristol Lane. General Manager Tiffany Frentz recently went live with a video on Facebook at all three locations — Ellicottville, Springville and Gowanda — to get current information out to their customers.

Tim and Bonnie’s came up with an alternative idea. They are now offering a “make your own pizza kit” for $9. The Facebook post said, “Now you can cook a pizza and sit around the dinner table together to eat your pizza. Let’s try to make the most of this time we have.”

The pizza place is still open during regular hours when customers can order all their favorite items from the full menu. Take-out and delivery are still a go, and they are offering specialty pizzas at a discounted price.

Cupcaked on Monroe Street is temporarily closed until further notice, but owner Annie Coe is offering pre-ordered sweet treats on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. until the closure is lifted. Customers can choose from pre-packed boxes filled with their best selling items including bars, truffles, cookies and, of course, cupcakes.

Jessica Maynard-Gilbert, owner of Ava Grace Fashions on Washington Street, loves to help people feel good about themselves and help them feel confident. She’s been giving style-conscious women tips via video live from her store on Facebook every Thursday for years. 

Now her clever advertising tool has a new use that keeps her patrons updated on what is new in the store, along with some positive thoughts that we all need right now.

She recently posted on Facebook, “I just want you guys to keep in the back of your mind, ‘this too shall pass.’ Our community right now, at least in Ellicottville and the surrounding area, are all so supportive of each other. We (local businesses) need each other, but we also need all of you (the customers).” 

According to the chamber’s website, officials at the chamber are monitoring the status of events in the community that are scheduled for the next few weeks. This is based on the latest information provided about COVID-19 from public health officials in Cattaraugus County and the New York State Department of Health.

Anyone with questions or concerns about COVID-19 should call the Western New York hotline at 1-888-364-3065.