In a year filled to the brim with uncertainty, heartbreak, and the associated ups and downs, we want to take a moment to focus on what helps so many of us get through a time like this: hope.
We shared some of the moments that brought us hope throughout this challenging year, and now we’re pleased to be able to share some of the small business and community interactions, acts of kindness, learning moments, and more that brought you hope this year.
Love for the Community, by the Community
“Thai Curry Simple was under construction before covid hit. Was worried that they wouldn’t open with everything going on. Was a wonderful surprise to see it open again, sweet surprise free dessert when I picked up lunch one day such a lovely and unexpected surprise. What has brought me hope is seeing small businesses opening during the pandemic like Coffeeholic House and SUSU Dessert Bar and seeing the support the community has given them. Watching companies quickly pivot to survive and doing all they can to keep their customers save like Sweet Alchemy, Watson’s Counter, Salmonberry Goods”
“The community stepping in together to support mental health, healthcare, industrial, and restaurant employees and just anyone who were/are struggling through this time. Musang, That Brown Girl Cooks, Frelard Tamales, Tarik Abdullah and many other businesses and organizations.”
“I am a member of an all women motorcycle club and we would cook dinner monthly for Jubilee women’s center in the before times. After covid, they started to only accept meal deliveries. Our first dinner after lockdown was a bit of a scramble to pull together, but Theo from Island Soul Rum Bar & Soul Shack totally stepped up and agreed to make and deliver meals for 30 women with 2 days notice despite his own struggles at the time. 🤗”
“Discovering the The Station. It showed me how much a business can be more and do more than just be a place to meet. They are helping the community to be a better place. And I learn things from their Instagram, they share perspectives I didn’t know before.”
“We have loved having Frelard Tamales nearby, and never more so than during this difficult time. Seeing how they have supported the community (offering free meals to those who needed it); pivoted to expand their delivery and pickup; and how they’ve brought other small businesses in to their model and their customer base has been really beautiful to see. They have kept their staff and customers’ safety top of mind, and are amazing examples of being community-centered. ❤”
“Seeing businesses like Musang, Terra Plata, That Brown Girl Cooks, Salare, and the non-profit organization FareStart pivot their operations to support our community while trying to keep their staff safe and doors open has been both a ray of hope and a kick in the pants to order takeout, give to food banks, buy gift cards, and just show up for our community.”
“Flashback to something i posted on March 16:
‘okay, yes, i just got a bit teary standing in the little pastry shop (which i chose to visit today because i think it’s in the most vulnerable position among its peers in this new season of closures), listening to the customer six proper feet ahead of me (he: another neighborhood small business owner) offering to do anything he could to help them out in the days ahead, while he has so much free time on his hands.’
I was writing about Celine Patisserie, by the way, and I’m happy to say that they’ve made it through this difficult year and continue to delight with their beautiful and delicious offerings. ✨”
“My experience happened on Thanksgiving Day. I did not wake up that morning expecting to cook my first ever Thanksgiving turkey, or wrapping up dinner at 11:30 PM. But 2020 has taught me that no matter what happens, have a little grace, look for hope, and eat that delicious food.
Thinking I was ahead of the game, I pre-ordered a turkey 35 days before Thanksgiving from a local restaurant. At 4:30 PM, I was sitting in my turkeyless kitchen in a panic staring at my homemade spicy mushroom gravy, orange-cranberry sauce, cherry Greek yogurt pie, and ingredients for made-from-scratch green bean casserole and roasted garlic hasselback potatoes. This was our first ever Thanksgiving meal away from family due to the pandemic, and my preordered turkey may never arrive.
Then Chef Matt L. Matthew Lewis from Where Ya At Matt and Chef Box Live saved my Thanksgiving dinner with the juiciest, organic, pre-brined 10lb turkey. He actually went to his kitchen on Thanksgiving evening so we can pick up a plan B turkey at 5:30 PM. And he armed me with a video on how to prep, roast, and carve the bird. Plus he stayed online answering my endless questions like whether you can roast a turkey in a brownie pan, or how to truss a turkey without twine. And oh my goodness, it was the juiciest turkey I’ve ever had.
As someone who grew up working in restaurants and bars, I’ve been trying my best to support local, especially minority-owned, businesses during this pandemic. I kept saying that they need our business to survive 2020, but on Thanksgiving I learned that we actually need their kindness and generosity to help us through.”
— Nancy Evans
“My little moment was so small, but really made me so happy! We have been getting takeout regularly from our favorite local Vietnamese place, Le’s Pho Tai in Shoreline, and they couldn’t provide cream puffs for many months because their bakery was closed. Towards the end of summer, we picked up an order and there were cream puffs again! The owners daughter said they had just gotten the bakery opened up again that week! It was a sign that things were improving 🙂”
“The Time Being Tattoo team (Chicago-based) has always done & continues to do so much for community thru mutual aid – weekly donation/supply drop off at their studio + distribution to Assata’s Daughters (assatasdaughters.org). They’re some of the many artists & tattoo studios driving change in their communities, cities, and beyond.”
“It was my first year intentionally shopping local/small for the holidays, and it opened my eyes to how meaningful good customer service can be. So many retailers went out of their way to make me feel seen, heard, and helped. Thank you Bootyland Kids, Palm House Gift Shop, Capitol Hill Frame and Photo, Sway and Cake for the time to answer my questions, the pickup accommodations, and the personal attention and notes.
And shout out to El Jibarito for helping me bring the magic of Puerto Rican Christmas to my home when I was far away from family this year.”
“Seeing small businesses get so creative and partner together with their offerings. Have loved the Día de los Muertos pack from Frelard Tamales and the We All Scream for Racial Justice Ice Cream flavors from Sweet Alchemy. Incredible small businesses doing incredible things! ❤️”
— Danna Redmond
“Small business owner Dr. Christine Zapata has been able to continue operating her business, but recognized that so many local restaurants were struggling. She has hosted tabs at small businesses on Capitol Hill throughout the pandemic, and I have been both inspired by her example and grateful to team up with her on a few occasions.”
— Laura Clise
Small Business Owners Express Their Gratitude
“Hearing people say, so many times, ‘I am here because I want to make sure that the places I love are still here when this nightmare is over.’”
“We’d like to thank our small and local business neighbors, but most importantly, our customers. Everyone has shown so much patience, understanding and support. We can’t have made it this far without our neighbors sharing funding resources, and support from customers! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
— Ho Ho Seafood Restaurant
“When the first lockdown happened so many clients immediately checked in with us, purchased gift certificates, and wrote reviews. This has continued throughout the year. That love and kindness will never be forgotten and inspires us to give that love back 10x ❤️❤️❤️”
— Spa Noir
“Early on when I got my shop online and started offering the private appointment. A longtime customer came in and shopped. When I thanked them they said. ‘I want to see you win, succeed.’ Still brings tears to my eyes. 😢 ❤️
From a small business owner, the Saturday before Christmas, customer after customer said ‘my co-worker told me to come here.’ ‘My sister told me to come here’ ‘my friend told me to home here’ It was a record number of people coming in from referral ❤️ The power of word of mouth 🗣🗣🗣”
— Adorned Abode
“In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to share something great that I witnessed today outside our window. It all started with these 2 loaves of banana bread. A regular, G (for short), called to order our last full loaf of banana bread. When I went to wrap it for him, I noticed that the middle was slightly sunken and not as perfect as I’d like it to be. I decided to also give him a mini loaf to make up for his imperfect big loaf. So I wrapped it too, (and took advantage of a great photo op, hence the reason I even have a picture). When G arrived I explained that I had put 2 loaves in his bag and the reason why. We exchanged well wishes for the holiday, and he went on his way. I watched him walk out the door and turn the corner, where he stopped to talk to a woman walking her dog. She had just crossed the street and their timing brought them to that same spot at the same time. I don’t know what was said between them, if she asked or if he just offered, but I watched as he asked her to wait and he opened his bag and handed her the mini loaf. She had the biggest smile on her face as she walked south and he was smiling too as he walked west. And guess what, it made me smile too. I had been really disappointed in that imperfect loaf of banana bread, but if had it been perfect then that extra mini loaf would not have been in the bag for G to give away. I wouldn’t have been able to see such a kind and genuine gesture from one stranger to another. I realized that even imperfection is often perfect. Our community is stronger when the people in it care for one another. Pay it forward, make a gesture, give a smile. It’s always worth it.”
— Buddha Bruddah
“After 30 years in biz and with many of our return customers not able to return to us this year for their custom sewn goods, we are grateful for our new and local customers and truly hope to see more consumers ask themselves where their stuff is made in the coming years. So many of our local biz have chosen to get their merch made by us and that has been uplifting in this troubled time!!”
— Misty Mountain Mfg
“After closing my guitar studio on Capitol Hill (my neighborhood for about 25 years) I feel hope and joy when my students tell me how much they value our online guitar lessons, and they find them as effective as our in person sessions. I have sure worked hard with that goal in mind!
“We launched our business this year! Hickie Designs snarky femmes making one of a kind badass jewelry and art… it’s a beautiful daydream that somehow came to reality in the chaos of 2020”