Meltrudina Boyd’s Happy Plate catering company has lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. She still prepares her signature dishes for takeout and parties with a limited guest list.
In 2019 Happy Plate catering company was in high demand for weddings, parties, family reunions and church gatherings.
Then came Covid-19.
Meltrudina Boyd, founder and owner of Happy Plate, said the pandemic caused a drastic shift in her Orangeburg, South Carolina, business. Like so many other small business owners across South Carolina, Boyd has seen a decrease in revenues.
“I have been working for myself for a total of seven years,” she said. “The thought of me possibly having to work for someone else is actually heartbreaking and scary.”
Boyd has been trying to find ways to generate income for herself such as doing small meal preps for clients, preparing very small and intimate private dinners and catering small family gatherings and functions.
Since the pandemic began this spring, Boyd has had to return deposits and cancel events. Boyd said that her clients are equally upset because a lot of them were looking forward to their events.
“It was very disheartening to have to reach out to Miss Boyd and have to cancel out my event for local kids in my community,” Hope Bonnette-Smalls said.
“The children were really looking forward to Miss Boyd’s food, and to have to tell the children that the event was canceled and to see the looks on their faces was just extremely hard to do.”
Smalls has already booked Boyd for future events hoping that she can still support small businesses bouncing back from COVID-19.
James McQuilla, who serves as the director of the Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce, said that he has seen how the coronavirus has affected a lot of small businesses in the Orangeburg area. But he is certain that the small business community will rise again and some will survive after the pandemic.
“Now is the time for small-owned businesses to find their niche and re-invent themselves,” McQuilla said.
Boyd was an educator before she started her business. Her former pre-school students at Orangeburg First Baptist Church Learning Center helped named her new business, Happy Plate.
“It’s scary and sad to know that so many small business owners are now having to shut down their business due to the pandemic. I am making certain that I don’t fall in that category,” said Boyd.