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  • Writer's pictureAngela Rakis

"I feel more authentic..."

When Katerina Georgallas from Mastiha Greek Artisan Bakery sent me a text message amidst the COVID-19 quarantine that read, "I feel more authentic than ever in my business," I called to check in on her right away. Maybe she was going stir-crazy like the rest of us? On the contrary, the story she told me was inspiring. We have all been hearing stories of businesses suffering - and it's true. Small businesses were already a challenge to run - owners play every role in their shops. Food businesses run on very thin margins. Georgallas was no different. What sets entrepreneurs apart, is their ability to take the unknown and make it work themselves, their team and their customers. And that is exactly what Georgallas did.

I hosted Georgallas on Instagram Live where she told me about her amazing ability to shift her business model from selling at farmer's markets to turning her production kitchen into "bakaliko" or Greek corner store. You can find our conversation on my IGTV @angrakis.

What fascinated me the most, was that she didn't focus on sales goals or 'pivoting' - the most overused word of 2020. What she focused on was her community first. What did her family need? Her neighbors? If they needed flour and produce, her customers probably needed these provisions as well. She was able to quickly shift her focus. As she slowed down the hamster wheel, she was able to see what was most important to her and to her team.

Someone else took notice once we started promoting our Instagram Live discussion on our social media accounts. Jackie Bensen from NBC Washington was interested in positive stories from local businesses. Check out the link below to our interview with Bensen. She covers the Mastiha Bakery shifts and also takes us back to my grandparents bakaliko which was an institution in Washington, DC. The gallery of photos takes you back to a time when the corner store was a big part of the community.



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