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PHOENIX -- Small businesses around the country grappling with “stay-at-home” restrictions placed by government officials amid the growing coronavirus outbreak have been forced to find creative ways to sell their products.
Jeremiah Gratza, a co-owner of the Thunderbird Lounge in Phoenix, Ariz., came up with a unique incentive for customers. After the city forced bars and restaurants to only offer delivery or drive-thru service, he started offering a free toilet paper roll for every beer or wine order.
“Since we had plenty of toilet paper for our bathrooms that we can no longer use, figured we’d give it out for free,” Gratza told Fox News. Thunderbird Lounge has closed its bar and has turned to delivery as a way to remain open during the near-lockdown of the city.
Rising concerns over COVID-19 has left people nationwide and around the globe buying up essential supplies like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Stores across the country continue to struggle to keep them on their shelves.
“Even I am out, it is scarce to come by and I even work at Walmart,” Phoenix resident Tara Stocks told Fox News.
The scheme at Thunderbird Lounge appears to be working as its owners said they’ve been taking dozens of calls each day and made nearly $1,000 on their first day.
“We went until like 11 o’clock last night delivering and people were answering doors in their PJs and I handed them beer and toilet paper,” Thunderbird Lounge co-owner Brett Boyles told Fox News. "It’s kind of just door-to-door bartending, really."
Customers told Fox News they appreciate the lightheartedness during this difficult time and wanted to do their part to support a local business.
“It’s a very good idea, a lot of people are very worried, a lot of people just need the stress out, a lot of people are having trouble even finding the bare essentials,” said Stocks.
Without this loophole of being able to deliver beer to customers, Thunderbird Lounge and other similar businesses would probably have had no other choice but to fully close down.
“It would mean laying off all of our employees. This is the only job that they have that they rely on to pay their rent, their bills and we didn’t want to do that,” Gratza said.
Beyond Arizona, businesses like Pizza Schmizza in Portland, Oregon and Cambridge Bar and Grill in Minnesota are also using toilet paper to drum up business.
Helping keep customers happy, while also making a sale and keeping their employees at work.