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April 1, 2020

3/25/2020 4:10:00 PM
Restaurants delivering on takeout orders
Service businesses adapt to customers distancing

By MaryRose Denton

We are adaptable as people. For instance, I began writing this article focusing on “buy local” and the interconnected relationship evolving between restaurants and local Skagit valley farmers. My original intent was to highlight the chain of support we give our community when we buy local, shop local, and eat local. This concept refers to supporting the little guy, the family business and your neighbors. But we all know that already.

With the changing day to day news bringing temporary closures to more and more small businesses in our community, the question may be, “How do we keep supporting them?”.
While social distancing might be our current normal, many businesses are offering on-line options to offset their closed store fronts. Here are three businesses serving La Conner residents and how they are adapting to “business as usual”.

Annie Taylor, owner of Crescent Moon Yoga, had to shutter her studio doors but her message to the community is to “keep yourself moving, keep breathing, relieve stress and stay connected, even if it is digitally. We need each other.”

To help everyone de-stress, Crescent Moon Yoga will be offering classes online via Zoom. Join in and consider adding yoga to your daily routine. Taylor is taking this time to spruce up the studio with a new coat of paint. She emphasizes, “to not be fearful of each other, to look each other in the eyes and understand we’re all going through this in our unique ways. Find true meaning for you and your family during this time.” You can visit the webpage https://www.yogalaconner.com/ for further details on classes.

Every small business relies on patrons coming in to survive. While many retailers are offering on-line purchasing there are some small businesses which only function face to face. One of these is massage therapy. At a time when the whole world seems anxious and tense,
massage therapists are facing a unique dilemma, “Do I stay, or do I go?” Being of compassionate nature, most therapists want to serve their clients’ needs while still maintaining, do no harm. This is especially true when a therapist like Jo Mitchell, of Jo’s healing Hands, has been an integral part of the community for so long.

She recently received a random act of kindness during these unsettling times, when a longtime client, who needed to cancel their upcoming massages for the near future, offered to pay her for the gap this now presented to Mitchell in her income. Taking care of each other in the times of adversity is the take-away here. A great way to support small business owners like Mitchell is to buy gift certificates for a future massage. When this is all over, every one of us will need one!

Mitchell has continued to work with some established clients but this too will be changing as we see stricter enforcement of social distancing.

Meanwhile, Mitchell still has her plants for sale outside her office and is available for any spring landscaping or gardening project. Contact her at 360-708-2022.

Early on in this pandemic, Edward Jones offices adapted and took pro-active measures. They ceased to conduct face to face appointments opting to move to hosting WebX conferencing for both seminars and individual appointments. While the stock market can be volatile, La Conner’s Scott Price remains available to listen to any concerns and help clients. He says his priority is “to ultimately help people understand what is going on with their investments.” You can reach him at scott.price@edwardjones.com.

Other businesses in town are adapting to social distancing regulations. Need a new and longer reading list?

Seaport Books will now have shorter hours of Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. They remain the premier place to order those books you have been meaning to read. They will have local pick-up or send books by mail, no charge. Their website is www.seaportbooks.com for further information. The upside, your order and delivery will arrive before May!

“Be willing to change because life won’t stay the same.” Anonymous 

True words for our times. The fact remains, we can all help each other, buy local and wash our hands.


Ken Stern

The variety of restaurants and coffee shops had a variety of sales volume in the week since Gov. Jay Inslee ordered they cease serving sit-down customers. They are an essential business under Inslee’s Monday declaration telling everyone to stay home, except for a short list of approved activities, including picking up take-out meals, getting groceries and medicines, seeing doctors and getting exercise. Social distancing – keeping six feet distance – is always necessary.

Car and foot traffic 1 p.m. Sunday was moderate on South First Street. People were having lunches at picnic tables at the boardwalk pocket parks as were two couple at Gilkey Square, where the trash receptacle on First and Morris was filled to overflowing.

Pam Fields of La Conner Coffee reported “My sales on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each surpassed any day I’ve had since I opened the shop, with the exception of sales on the day of the boat parade. I guess no matter what people still want their coffee and ice cream!” Sunday she had “eight or nine people almost shoulder to shoulder.” Greg Westover from the Ginger Grater next door pointed out customers were standing too close together. Fields said she shooed-out folks wanting to sit down. Sunday she was prepared to meter people coming in. Fields is serving Scone Lady scones and sells ice cream, quick purchase eating onthe-go foods. Tourists were the bulk of her customers.

Belen Arias at Santo Coyote Mexican Kitchen said that dinner takeout orders were sufficient to keep them going for a while. She said that they are not offering lunch, that orders were too few. Last call for dinner is 6 p.m.

Nell Thorn’s Ted Furst called the support of the community “pretty remarkable,” noting the high level of response in this rural community. Tips are pooled for the hourly staff laid off. Filling out unemployment forms for his staff, he said he felt a lot of pain. About customer support and life overall he said, “We’re all in this together.” He estimated sales were one-sixth of normal.

Anelia’s Kitchen & Stage has reversed course and is closing. Owner Jennifer Ferry appreciated promotional support from the La Conner Chamber of Commerce, Shelter Bay and others. Locals responded well. Then last weekend, Ferry explained in an email: “Many, many people traveled north from Seattle and the surrounding areas to ‘get away’ from the shutdown. It felt too normal, and we felt that our business being open at this point was riskier than closing. So, we decided to close on Sunday night and hunker down with the rest of town until we all get the green light to reopen.” Her plans had been to stay open through March.

Ferry wrote: “Our hearts are full by the outpouring of support from our friends and neighbors in La Conner. We were saddened to close, but feel it was the right thing to do right now. We look forward to the day that we get to fully reopen and to see everyone again.”

Seeds owner Kjendal Hicks notes business is not at tulip season levels. Her Tuesday email: “But we are feeling the love and support from the community. We are collecting money for Alyssa, our bar manager, as she is about to have a baby and both her and her husband are now out of work due to the virus. The ‘Baby Fund’ is growing every day and we couldn’t be more grateful to all of our guests for being so generous.”

Calico Cupboard is not open. Friday Brenda Smith was on the boardwalk behind her First Street café, crouching between boxes of green onions and romaine lettuce, bagging produce for her staff. Her March 16 Facebook post states: “We will be temporarily closing until state allows reopening.”

La Connery Brewery started last week being open for takeout with a 25% discount for merchants. By Thursday, March 19 they had a sign on the door and a Facebook posting that said in part: “These are confusing times and we want to do what is best for our community and the wellbeing of our staff. We will be taking it one day at a time just like everyone else and keep you updated of any new developments.”

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Published every Wednesday in La Conner Washington
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