Central Businesses Innovate to Stay Alive

Most businesses in Central are under an emergency order from the Governor to close their doors. Other types of businesses were deemed by the Governor to be “essential” and can remain open. 

Both whether they are deemed essential or not, many businesses in Central are finding unusual ways to continue to serve their customers. Dr. Tony LoBue at Crossroads Animal Hospital, 13933 Greenwell Springs Road, and his clients are concerned with social distancing.  So he decided to innovate!

The result is curb service! Instead of bringing your dog inside the veterinary clinic, you call for an appointment. When you pull up in front of the clinic, you call again, and Dr. Tony LoBue or one of the staff will come out to greet you. He will attach his leash and bring your pet into the clinic to perform whatever care or treatment may be needed.  In half an hour or so, he will come back out with your pet and take your credit card to be run. Then they will be out again with a receipt.

Dr. LoBue’s Crossroads Animal Hospital recently opened its new Luxury Boarding and Day Care Facility. It provides overnight and day care services for clients’ dogs. A state of the art facility, its suites are, well, something to behold! Its luxurious beds are gigantic and so soft!  The widescreen TV offers inspiring videos of birds and squirrels.  The door to outside is open part of the day, so your baby can go outside and “do his business” and play. Even more remarkable is the device in the suite that allows you to call in and have a one-way conversation with your dog. Then, if he’s been a good boy, you can push a button on your phone and the device will send a treat flying toward your pet.

Since most people are stuck at home, the boarding and day care facility still has space available. However, it is ready when you need to go out of town and take a break from pet care during the week.

Jack Hood Jewelers

Jack Hood Jewelers has been in business more than 40 years, but it only recently moved to Central from its former location on Florida Boulevard.  Unfortunately, just after it opened, the coronavirus arrived and with it Gov. John Bel Edwards’ emergency order. That order deemed jewelers as being “non-essential.” Jack Hood Jewelers was forced to close, even though big box stores with jewelry departments get to stay open. 

Nevertheless, Jack Hood’s daughter Kelli Hood wasn’t about to allow their family business to go out of business.

Over the years, Kelli has studied under her father, Jack Hood, and  like her father become an outstanding jewelry designer. In fact, most of their business is from one-of-a-kind jewelry that they design and manufacture in-house.

The shutdown has forced Kelli to focus on the design side of the business, where she can work from home and design unique pieces of jewelry for clients anywhere in the country.

The design idea often begins with a customer who has something special in  mind.  They produce photos of things they like or even drawing they’ve made.

Then Kelli brings that idea to reality, starting with a first class design on the autocad.  The 3D printer can produce an exact replica of what the final piece will look like. Once it is approved by the client, the gold or silver is cast and the stones are mounted.  It’s a process that can take weeks, but in the end, the client has a unique family heirloom that will last for generations. The competed piece is shipped to the client, who may be local or out of state.

One of the things Kelli says she enjoys is “repurposing” old pieces of jewelry.  Sometimes a person will inherit a precious piece of jewelry — precious but just not something she would wear.

Kelli can design a new piece of jewelry and then melt down the metal or use the jewels from the old piece for use in the new piece. The new piece might be made from great grandmother’s broch, which is now a dinner ring you can enjoy.

Working with her father and a craftsman like Joe the Jeweler, Kelli Hood has quite a heritage in the jewelry business, which she puts to use for clients everyday.

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