Each of the business owners featured in this series faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, yet they found ways to not only pivot but also support their communities in unique ways.
Episode 1: Tso Chinese Delivery
Bringing the heart of the South to life, Tso Chinese Delivery is providing free meals to people impacted by COVID-19, despite facing their own challenges, like losing existing relationships with caterers who can’t currently operate. They’re even making sure Tso’s employees always have the option of a free meal.
Episode 2: Dave Puente Photography
When portrait photographer Dave Puente’s phone stopped ringing, he started a new type of portrait work—called the Porchtrait Project—photographing families from a safe distance, on their porch, at no cost. His goal? To inspire hope during a challenging time for so many.
Episode 3: The Art Guild of Port Washington
With the hope of spreading solidarity during a trying time, The Art Guild of Port Washington started The Great Rainbow Community Hunt, encouraging community members to create rainbows to display in their home or business. This visual arts center, which typically offers free on-site classes and exhibits to the community, quickly pivoted their non-profit to curate exhibits online.
Episode 4: Austin’s Couch Potatoes
While this retail furniture store had to shut their doors, they shifted their manufacturing to make masks and gowns for frontline heroes—using the same material they use to create pillowcase linings—fueled entirely by their staff volunteering their time.
Episode 5: Good Apple
This grocery subscription company partners with local farms to rescue produce that would otherwise go unsold, delivering fresh fruits and veggies to customers’ front doors. Right now, they’re providing food delivery to seniors and immune-compromised residents, free of charge.
Episode 6: Brickway Brewery & Distillery
While they’re continuing to produce craft beer and spirits, Brickway Brewery & Distillery also started producing hand sanitizer with just a few additional ingredients. To date, they’ve given away more than 1,000 gallons of sanitizer and are encouraging other businesses to think about how they too can pivot their operations.
Episode 7: Askov Finlayson
Eric Dayton, co-owner of the apparel store Askov Finlayson and restaurant Bachelor Farmer, is helping put Minnesota cooks back to work, creating meals for the food insecure community.
Episode 8: Crema Bakery & Cafe
Worried about kids who might be missing meals while not in school, Crema started offering bagged lunches to students and others in need. To date, they’ve given away more than 800 meals and have even turned their café into an affordable food pantry, offering curbside grocery pick-up.
Episode 9: Woodchuck USA
Traditionally a manufacturer of custom wood products, like journals and phone cases. After seeing a drastic drop in demand, Woodchuck USA shifted its business to start making face shields to donate to frontline professionals in need of protection.
Episode 10: Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop
This malt shop in Stillwater, MN is accustomed to giving back, but in the midst of COVID-19, is raising money to support Cystic Fibrosis research by donating 10% of lunch sales (Monday – Thursday) for the entire month of May.
Episode 11: Street Factory Media
Street Factory Media is in the business of experiential design for events, but with most events put on hold, they’ve started fabricating a “Safe Serve Door System” that allows businesses to retrofit their front door to serve customers through a “drive-up” style window.
Episode 12: Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County
Literacy Volunteers provides free one-on-one literacy tutoring to adults, educating students on the English language, basic computer literacy, and other life skills. This non-profit relies heavily on donations and has seen a drastic drop in funding since the start of COVID-19.
Episode 13: P’zazz Art Studio
P’zazz Art Studio has converted to online classes and is offering free art demos via Facebook Live, with the mission of providing children not only with art skills, but with life skills. Even amidst the pandemic, P’zazz is continuing to give back by supporting Rice Bowls, a non-profit partner providing meals to orphanages around the world.
Episode 14: Laney & Lu
Committed to offering nourishing food through their holistic eatery, Laney & Lu started donating salad bowls and smoothies to healthcare workers and community members experiencing food scarcity. While they’ve received a few generous donations, most of the giving has stemmed from customers who, when placing their own order, opt to “Give a Bowl or Smoothie” to someone in need.
Episode 15: Make.Do. Creative Studio
This non-profit studio offers “pay what you can” creativity classes, with the mission of connecting the community around them. Without the ability to hold in-studio classes, and with most of their revenue traditionally coming from donations, Make.Do. has made over 1,500 masks to date to sell to non-healthcare workers.
Episode 16: Natural Lifemanship
Natural Lifemanship provides training for mental health professionals who help their clients via equine-assisted therapy, using horses to positively impact mental health. While many patients are experiencing symptoms like anxiety, so too are mental health providers, which is why Natural Lifemanship is offering “pay what you can” training to these professionals.
Episode 17: Hott Salons
After temporarily closing multiple locations, Hott Salons started selling root rescue kits and beauty boxes to clients online and providing virtual one-on-one consultations before clients tackled their at-home services. Not only is the salon using proceeds from these boxes to support their staff, they’re giving away a beauty box each week to one lucky healthcare professional.
Episode 18: Little Medical School
Little Medical School offers STEM-based curriculum is to give kids exposure to medical careers, in a fun and interactive format. While the school has been forced to move their classes online, they’re continuing to educate students about the healthcare industry, including candid conversations around the current pandemic.