After nine months of strictly online purchases, Full Circle Gifts and Goods in Huntington has decided to remain closed during the holiday season due to a rise of coronavirus in the area.
“We have been more cautious than most businesses during the pandemic and we truly appreciate the support we have received during this strange time,” Noelle and Scott Horsfield, owners of the small business, said on a Facebook post. “The holidays are an important time for our business, and we depend on holiday shopping for a large part of our income. We look forward to this time of year because we love catching up with customers and seeing everyone happy in the festive atmosphere of the shop.”
According to Cabell Health, there has been a total of 2,728 confirmed cases and 1,122 current active cases in the county since Dec. 2.
The small business started in 2016 to sell ceramics created by Noelle but turned into a broadened project – described on social media as “a unique shopping experience not found anywhere else in West Virginia,” with husband Scott to sell personally picked items from small businesses across the nation.
Although their financial status depends on the store, the two-member team had to decide to close their doors in response to their personal health conditions and to keep their high-risk parents safe.
“Where you spend your money this holiday season is going to determine what Huntington looks like a year from now. I grew up here when there was no Pullman Square – there was no point of going downtown at all. I don’t want to go back to that,” Noelle said. “Small businesses make an area unique. You can go anywhere and go to a Walmart or not go anywhere and shop on Amazon, but it is these small businesses that makes a place a home.”
The couple has not received any negative responses during the pandemic or complaints about masks since no one else has been inside of the store. Noelle said it also helped that the store is built around their opinions and political choices and that their customer base is mutual in those beliefs.
Noelle said she spent the first six weeks developing the store’s website for customers to easily access their products and because the small business did not have time to update their online presence when working full-time in the store. She also said that she did experience a few problems on social media to sell products.
Since the store has a functioning website now, the store’s Instagram account deactivated the new shopping icon on the network. Noelle said that Instagram enforced a shipping fee that did not change according to items – leaving a customer to pay the same fee for a gift card as they would for a 10-pound ceramic.
Not only has the small business received positive feedback and support from local customers during the pandemic, but other small businesses in Huntington also support the couple.
Owner of natural grocery and wellness store Tulsi, Erin Dalton, said she supports Full Circle because of how personal they are to their customers.
“They care about their community and have put their whole heart into the store and a lot of work into making Huntington a better place,” Dalton said.
Dalton said she knew their business relationship was the “real deal” when Noelle sent a dog ornament and card when Dalton’s dog died three years ago.
“I am very glad Full Circle has stayed online. Does it make my shopping more difficult? Yes. Is the experience not what it would be in person? Yes. Is Noelle’s health and the future of Full Circle more important than that? Big yes,” Dalton said.
Xena Bunton can be contacted at [email protected]