I Went to Kentucky for My Birthday and All I Got Was This Stupid COVID

The Podcasting Store
3 min readSep 1, 2022


by Drew Holmes

The night before I was to fly back to Colorado from my in-law’s house in Kentucky, I had a bit of a headache. By midnight it was worse, and by 2:30am sleep was out of the question. A few hours (and two lines on a test cartridge) later my fear was confirmed: I had COVID. My brief vacation had turned into a disaster preparedness test.

When mandated shutdowns were still future threats, not past challenges, my team formulated a plan. I broke down our anticipated disruptions into two categories: Operations and Communications. I wanted a backup plan in place before we needed it, if only to test it while we still had options.

Communications — We set up various store channels on Telegram. I like this app because it works on any operating system (Android or iOS) and crosses devices seamlessly. During the mandated shutdown, this became the main method of communicating with the team and assured that everyone was working from the same information. We still use Telegram channels today, with specialized groups for our ed reps and repair techs.

Operations — We staggered scheduling to isolate cohorts. This paid huge dividends when our first positive case shut down the front of house for two days, but the repair shop stayed open. Additionally, repair technicians with shop space at home tooled up so they could still fix instruments even if the store was off limits. I also started working from home more and made those hours part of my regular workday.

Positive test in hand, I texted my general manager to let her know I would not be in-store the next day. I sent a Telegram message to my Ed Reps to bring them in the loop, assuring any deliveries I had scheduled would be covered. I contacted my business partner to let him know of the delay.

Then I took stock of what Plan B looked like for my unplanned extended stay. Paperwork in my inbox would be scanned and saved to the shared folder on the server, which I could easily access that evening. I had remote access to the store computer server, which includes our point-of-sale system and internal message system. Store email accounts are always on my phone and laptop, so I would stay caught up. This was proof of concept for what I had been trying to achieve since January 2020 — I can do most of my job from anywhere in the world that has WiFi.

Tallying the ledger of assets versus liabilities, the only minus was the inability to manage my staff and serve my customers in person. In a COVID-era world where things can turn on a dime, I seamlessly pivoted into in-place systems and strategies. I doubt many folks outside even noticed the difference.

It has been said that when formulating plan B you better like it: that may be the only plan you have available. The test of my disaster preparedness was expected in the short term due to travel, but extending it further was the true test for how well it can adapt. By putting a few systems in place before I needed them, I was able to continue running my store and serving our customers. Plan B worked.



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