WARWICK, RI — Ron Amore opened Tiger Eye Gift Shop in February, and a few weeks later COVID changed everything.
“We are hanging in there and doing OK considering we just opened in February so we don’t really know what we would be doing if it wasn’t for Corona,” Amore said.
When he signed the lease for his location on West Shore Road, there were four other businesses slated to come in, which he expected to bring more foot traffic to Tiger Eye, but it hasn’t been as planned. Three of the businesses never opened and one right next door already closed. “Foot traffic hasn’t been like I planned,” he said. “We spent more on marketing than we had to.”
While the state offered help for businesses impacted by COVID, Amore wasn’t approved for any funding because Tiger Eye didn’t have a baseline to compare the virus’ impact. “We opened in February and had to lose 30% from February to March, April and May, but because we just opened we had nothing to compare it to,” he said.
Tiger Eye closed on March 17 and opened back up at the end of April. During that time Amore redesigned his website so customers could shop directly. More recently, because his business space was cramped, Amore leased the spot next door allowing more room for customers to social distance.
Like many businesses hit hard by the pandemic, Amore has pivoted his business plan to find ways to give his customers what they need during these trying times and keep his doors open. In April he was making and selling Easter Baskets customers could order and pickup. He did the same in October with Halloween Buckets since most weren’t trick or treating this year. For the holidays he’s working on custom stuffed stockings, custom gift baskets, sleighs with candy and has increased his supply of toys available.
Tiger Eye is offering curbside pickup with ordering online, as well as delivery. “We want to make it as easy as possible,” he said.
The good news is despite the pandemic, Amore says his business is growing. “Most people who come like it and refer us and business is growing, a little bit slower than I hoped, but we’re still doing OK,” he said.
Tiger Eye Gift Shop is located at 768 W Shore Road in Warwick.