As I drive around my neighborhood of Brookside in Kansas City MO, I'm thinking....just how long will these small, locally owned businesses be shut down? There are plenty of places to park in front of the boutiques, the toy store, the barber, the gift shop. I see folks walking in and out of our local coffee shop and the grocer; and stopping by for curbside pick up at a few restaurants. But I know cafes and restaurants can't survive indefinately on orders. Part of the pleasures of having a coffee or meal is enjoying the slower pace of conversation with a friend, sipping the glass of wine and being waited on! I feel it's going to be a very long time before neighbors and friends can lounge in a restaurant with a good meal and cup of joe.
So how can I help? Our family is ordering meals every so often from locally owned restaurants. And I am keeping in touch by texting or calling them, just to say hello. I especially feel for those home with young kids--there are several on my block. Keeping the children occupied with school work, keeping them away from friends and inside is difficult! I've hired the next door neighbor college kid to mow lawns on a couple of vacant properties.
Although I know my business is going to dramtically drop off over the next several months and I should be saving money, I decided to buy several gift certificates and give them to clients. I'm buying them from the Brookside restaurant owners--$10 each--and I'm sending them off in the mail with a personal note to past customers. I think they will appreciate that I'm thinking of them and will brighten the day.
It feels odd to have virtually nothing on the calendar. I'm just finishing up some pending business that was booked before the pandemic and have one out of town buyer moving to Kansas City. No vacation planned, no Brookside Art Fair, no visit from my daughter who lives in the UK, no birthday celebration dinners with friends. Several clients who planned to move this spring and summer are staying put for now. Usually I'm very busy this time of year. Perhaps business will be 'back to normal' a year from now. Too hard to predict. In the meantime, I'm grateful for healthy family and friends, the food we have, my beloved Brookside home...and the internet to keep in touch!