Small businesses in the community adapt to coronavirus


Natalie Dosmond '21

Peak360 and Boxcar Cantina, small businesses owned by members of the Sacred Heart Greenwich community, have been finding ways to adapt to life in the midst of a pandemic.

Local businesses in the Sacred Heart Greenwich community have been adapting to the challenges that have accompanied the coronavirus outbreak.  Although the Federal Reserve announced it will assist small businesses across America, some business owners are trying to find their own ways to maintain business in the present circumstances.  Mr. Dominic Novak and Mrs. Dana Novak P ’21, ’23 are offering online personal training sessions with their business, Peak 360 Greenwich, as well as tips to keep fit on their social media.  Senior Megan Farrell and junior MaryGrace Farrell are helping increase the social media presence of their family’s restaurant, Boxcar Cantina, to gain further support from the local community.

President Donald Trump signed into law The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act March 27, which contains $376 billion in relief for small businesses, according to  This act aims to help small businesses financially that have been hurt by the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak.  The government hopes to do this through providing loans to small business owners that they can use to pay employees, as well as pay for utilities and rent, according to

Mr. Dominic Novak holds personal training sessions virtually for his clients.  Courtesy of Mrs. Dana Novak

Mr. and Mrs. Novak believe it is important for their clients to maintain fitness, even when they cannot physically attend a gym.  They decided to hold personal training sessions over FaceTime, and have restructured the workouts so clients can easily do them at home with no equipment.

“We are doing everything online now,” Mr. Novak said.  “We are trying to bring our expertise online so that we can provide our clients with the best level of training and adapt to the environment we’re in.”

They have also been active on their social media, posting recipes as well as tips to stay healthy during this period of isolation.

Their daughters, junior Sam Novak and sophomore Stefanie Novak, are also demonstrating exercises on their social media accounts to encourage others to stay fit and healthy at home.

“During this time, I am helping my parents by participating in their daily home workout videos that they are posting for their clients on their business Instagram account,” Sam said.  “My dad gives my sister and I short workouts to demonstrate in the video.”

Mr. Novak believes that while it is important to follow state and federal regulations related to the virus, it is also crucial to continue supporting local businesses so that they are able to reopen after the outbreak.

“If you like a restaurant that you go to, get take-out from that restaurant,” Mr. Novak said.  “In our business, keep us going by doing virtual training.  Be supportive, be a client, or be someone who continues to utilize the services that the business provides.”

Mr. James Farrell P ’17, ’20, ’21 owns and operates Boxcar Cantina, which has suspended all in-house dining in accordance with Connecticut’s current guidelines.  The restaurant has decided to remain open for curbside pick up, takeout, and delivery, forcing Mr. Farrell to reduce his staff to only essential kitchen and delivery personnel.  The restaurant also added two new phone lines to increase their capacity for the new heightened demand for takeout orders.

Boxcar Cantina donates food to workers at Greenwich Hospital who are on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak. Courtesy of Mr. James Farrell

In addition, the Farrells have also been supporting those on the frontline of the outbreak by donating food to the staff at Greenwich Hospital and Greenwich Police.  Mrs. Mary Anne Farrell P ’17, ’20, ’21 is a nurse at Greenwich Hospital, and with Mr. Farrell working throughout the day at the restaurant, their daughters Megan and MaryGrace have been helping their parents with the business, as well as with household chores.

“Since our Mom is a Nurse at Greenwich Hospital and our Dad spends every night working at Boxcar, Megan and I have been working together at home to increase Boxcar’s social media presence,” MaryGrace said.  “Megan and I recognize that these times are very stressful for both my parents, and we have been doing our best to help them and our family business in any way we can.”

Boxcar Cantina has garnered support from the Greenwich community in light of the current situation.  They encourage others to spread the word about their restaurant, as well as other small businesses, on social media to ensure that the community is aware that the restaurant is open for takeout and delivery, and to stress the importance of supporting local businesses in these times of economic hardships.

“The Greenwich community has been extremely generous and supportive of Boxcar and other small businesses during these difficult times,” MaryGrace said.  “My family would encourage the Sacred Heart community to support their local businesses by spreading the word through social media and various platforms.  When you do order takeout from Boxcar, or any restaurant, post a quick Instagram or Snapchat story to encourage others to enjoy a similar meal.”

Featured Image by Natalie Dosmond ’21