2020 has been an emotional roller coaster, to say the least, a ride filled with ups, downs, highs and lows. It may have not been a year we’d like to remember, but surely one we’ll never forget. While the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic to small businesses was significant, the Island Ship Center soared to new heights in many areas. In addition, 2020 forced us to make substantial adjustments to our business and our way of doing things, a challenge in itself. Although the challenges seemed to outnumber the triumphs at times, nevertheless we had our good share of joy, laughter, good times, and countless memories. This is our Year in Review of 2020: Island Ship Center Edition. Click here to view all the pics in our Google Photos Shared Album.
Quarter One (January – March)
The first quarter of 2020 was mostly before COVID-19 fully hit. We kicked off the year with a team meeting, where our team members were acknowledged for their hard work in 2019 and were rewarded accordingly. With the new year brought many visions, including building our print business. During this time, we were able to hire new team members and get our warehouse painted. The new addition to our ISC family was none other than the instrumental Anthony. His enthusiasm and smile gave renewed vigor to our team.
Around this time on January 23rd, we installed a new front door which gave our store a sleek and updated look.
In March when the pandemic hit, despite a stressful and challenging time for all, we had to make adjustments to our business strategy which allowed us to grow. Some of these adaptations included curbside pick up and delivery service for print jobs.
Fahim and Seema distribute toilet paper across the island during the early stage of the pandemic (pictured above)
Quarter Two (April – June)
Following a hectic and nontraditional quarter one, quarter two was more or less the same season for the Island Ship Center: anything but normality. As the pandemic reached its peak around April, with that introduced new obstacles. Due to a national paper towel shortage a handful of generous guests brought us extra supplies which was a huge relief in a time of need. As a result of the pandemic people were not able to travel, thus we were able to lend a helping hand in the best way we know how; mailing out printed messages and memories to their loved ones around the country.
The following couple months were a challenging time to trudge through with two of our team members having to go on leave for a short period of time due to quarantine. On May 14th we took on a special print job from one of our beloved guests and good friend Hal. Our assignment involved designing and printing a birthday banner for our guest to present outside the window for his wife Phyllis, who was in a nursing home with limited contact because of COVID restrictions. Let us say it was a mission success, and was a pure joy and honor to get to be a part of something so meaningful to Hal.
Another highlight of quarter two was the launch of SeemaBoutique.com, a website that is still in the works, dedicated to Seema’s products and serving our guests through an online platform. During this quarter, the Island Ship Center Team was also thrilled by the installation of the touch-less paper towel dispenser in our restroom on May 27th. This addition ensured and heightened our standards for health and safety within our facility. A month later the Island Ship Center also made the move over to “quiet tape” after experimenting with different tapes from Uline. The previous tape used in our business was often noisy, and the team thought it was time for a change. With the discovery of our new favorite “quiet tape”, we wanted to spread our excitement in sending some to our close friends at Uncle Marty’s Shipping Office in Ithaca, New York in quarter four. At the end of June, we also decided to no longer accept USPS drop off shipments. Although it was a tough decision to make, in the long run we felt it would benefit everyone due to tracking issues.
Quarter Three (July – September)
Quarter three got off to a great start with a white glove move job for one of our diamond guests, Mady, who wanted her mom’s treasured mementos safely packed and shipped to her home in Long Island to preserve them for her own daughter. Our team worked tirelessly for three days on site at Mady’s father’s home on Grand Island picking up boxes, furniture and valuable items, packing them, and safely transporting them to our warehouse as well as a nearby storage facility. We were pleased to receive a PPE (personal protective equipment) kit for our team from FedEx containing extra masks and bottles of hand sanitizer to sustain the entire Island Ship Center team.
With a new quarter came the hiring of new team members, Jonny and Trevor, two of the youngest to begin their journeys here at ISC. Another journey that began was Fahim’s sugar-free diet, which still continues to this day. In early September, thanks to the generosity of many of our guests, we donated school supplies and more than fifty backpacks to children in our area as a way to give back to the community.
A truly exciting time in quarter three was headlined by the return of Theresa, the very backbone of Island Ship Center. Theresa previously worked with ISC from 2015-2018, but rejoined us in late September and became our full time graphic designer and store manager, earning her the name #DesignDiva.
During this time, we also added Brooke, Allyson, Joe, Musa and Noor to our ISC family. Each of them bring their strengths and enthusiasm to our team and we are so grateful to have them join us.
The final part of quarter three began with the spirit of new collaboration. ISC started doing fulfillment orders for a large Canadian client.
Quarter Four (October-December)
With our increase in volume, we expanded our advertising footprints by displaying our new ISC flag right next to the busy Grand Island Boulevard. As an ongoing devotion to our business and family, at the Island Ship Center, we also devoted time to our health. October 14th marked the 31st day of Fahim’s sugar free transformative journey.
One of the most important days of the year for Seema’s Boutique is Small Business Saturday. On November 28th we had a slew of guests rush into the store to see our selection of Seema Boutique merchandise, as well as in the business center with purses and complementary Indian style chai tea. That Saturday was a smashing success and the interactions we were able to have with our beloved guests is a gift we cherish daily.
There’s no better way to wrap up the year than the ISC team providing their best in regards to service to our guests. Mady’s move job was a special assignment given to our team, as we are in the business of making memories. With our white glove level of professionalism, we aspire to give our guests the standard of excellence that we would want for ourselves.
As we head into 2021, with our resilience and optimism, we’d like to leave you with the final sibling rivalry battle between Allyson and Yusuf. On Boxing Day this year, December 26th, Anthony made a final video of 2020 depicting a jovial boxing match between the two rivals. Although not related, Allyson and Yusuf are just like brother and sister at ISC and they have their daily quarrels as well. So, enjoy the video and have a very happy and safe new year.
With resilience, optimism, gratitude and exuberance,
Fahim, Seema and the entire Island Ship Center Family.
#SpaOfShipping #FahimFix #ExudeExcellence #SeemaSolves