Is e-commerce the future for Huntsville businesses after COVID-19?
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AFFOGATO CAFE ONLINE
Gio (left) and Sandra Pizzale have found innovative ways to continue to serve Affogato Cafe and Gelato's customers in Huntsville and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis. May 7, 2020. - Affogato Cafe and Gelato photo

HUNTSVILLE — When one door closed for a downtown Huntsville café, an online portal opened.

Affogato Café and Gelato’s Sandra Pizzale said the business temporarily closed its 72 Main St. E. café off River Mill Park to walk-in customers as provincial COVID-19 state of emergency restrictions were put in place in March.

But the business soon found ways to adapt, first with email and phone orders for curbside pickup and delivery, and then enhanced that with a new online store.

“We set up an online store where people could purchase gift certificates and/or products, and could pay via card or e-transfer, or pay via online purchased gift certificates,” said Pizzale.

Most products, she said, could now be delivered nearly anywhere.

The café was one of the early adopters of new online services in response to the COVID-19 crisis, though several other businesses in Huntsville were also embracing digital tools to serve customers now, too.

Pizzale said it was a move the café had always considered, but it had become a priority in recent days.

She said the business worked with Leah Reeder and Reeder Web Design in Huntsville to make the digital leap.

And it wasn’t just a fad. Pizzale noted the café planned to make the online store a permanent part of the business, even once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

She added, though, the business looked forward to the day it could reopen its doors.

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