What it is Like to Run an Essential Business During a Pandemic

Farmland is a pet store located in Old Town Silverdale that has been labeled essential during the Covid-19 pandemic


Jennifer Erichsen

Both Shannon Randall and Sadie Flaherti work at the cash register, along with assisting costumers.

by Jennifer Erichsen, Contributor

Farmland is a business located in Old Town Silverdale that sells products related to animals along with pets. Since they sell pet food, they are considered an essential business. 

The regulations placed because of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed certain aspects of business and made certain products more difficult to obtain.

“Availability is really hard,”  Sadie Flaherti, an employee at Farmland, said. Metal and paper products have been especially hard to get.

The cross country location of some of the store’s suppliers and the differences in pandemic regulations for each state has also made getting supplies harder.

The vendors that the store uses also had a harder time getting supplies, making certain products be out of stock more often. 

“Because manufacturing and vendors are affected getting products…we can’t get products from them,” Shannon Randall, the manager and owner of Farmland, said. “I had one vendor that told me if there are certain products I wanted in spring then I should be getting them now.”

According to Randall, manufacturers who normally have a two percent chance of having something out of stock now have a thirty to forty percent chance.

Other changes have also affected Farmland in the form of an ordinance released in July by Kitsap County. 

Because of the ordinance, Farmland has stopped selling puppies and kittens, but other animals are still available for consumers to purchase. There has even been a slight increase in demand for other animals such as fish and bunnies.

Andrew Hills is filling up a tank in the section were fish are sold. (Jennifer Erichsen)

“A lot of people are buying, I feel like, comfort animals,” Flaherti stated. The store is currently looking to increase the size of the aquarium. 

No longer selling cats and dogs has also led the store to start selling larger varieties of birds and fish. Rabbits have also increased in sales recently.

Other modifications from the pandemic affect the store in smaller ways. Consumer interactions have had little change, but some customers have been more irritable.

“The masks and the screen, like in between us, definitely create a barrier,” Flaherti said. When working as a cashier, it can be difficult hearing people through both the mask and the barrier.

While the regulations created for the pandemic do make aspects of the store different, Randall and the other staff members believe that safety is important.

“Most people come in with masks on, if they don’t we ask them to put one on,” Andrew Hills, an employee at Farmland, said. The staff also wears masks while working.

Farmland is not the only business that requires employees and customers to wear face coverings during open hours. Washington State requires it due to the pandemic.

The shop has also had a fairly stable source of income selling pet food and supplies for farm animals.

“People have a lot of farms around here,” Hills stated. “I didn’t know there were as many farms as there are.”

Being an essential business, Farmland is still able to operate and sell goods all while following certain rules to protect people who shop.

“It’s never the same any day of the week,” Randall said. The unpredictability that comes with running a retail store with a focus on animals is one of her favorite things about the store.