How We Can Support Durham Businesses During COVID-19

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Spoonflower produces masks for healthcare workers during COVID-19 crisis
Durham fabric printer and e-commerce firm Spoonflower started producing masks for health care workers. The fabric masks can be used to cover medical-grade masks – helping them last longer through the COVID-19 crisis.

**This post is regularly updated. Do you have updates, suggestions or photos you want to share? Send us an email at editorial@durhammag.com.**

COVID-19’s presence in our city and state and, indeed, throughout the country and the nation, brings uncertainty and unease. Governor Roy Cooper officially banned dining in at bars and restaurants on Tuesday, March 17. Limiting gatherings and many more measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Mayor Steve Schewel issued a stay-at-home order for Durham, effective March 26 at 6pm until April 30, but it will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and can be revised, amended or extended.

But most of all, small business owners, as well as their employees, need our help. And help we must. That’s what Durham is great at. Closures and all, there are still ways for us to support our community, whether that’s making a quick donation or picking up takeout curbside.


FIRST

The fine folks at Discover Durham have put together a succinct overview of ways to support local businesses as they face the pressures and challenges that COVID-19 is putting on its companies and organizations. Find that list of ideas here.

AN INCREASED NEED FOR DONATIONS AND NONPROFITS AS COVID-19 IMPACTS JOBS, WAYS OF LIFE

In response to the pandemic, the United Way of the Greater Triangle announced Monday that it launched a Rapid Response Fund to help supply funding for nonprofit organizations providing local residents with necessary resources such as food, hygiene supplies, childcare and housing support. To support these efforts, donate here or mail checks made out to United Way of the Greater Triangle to Rapid Response Fund, P.O. Box 110583, Durham, NC 27709-0962.

Rebekah Miel of Miel Design Studio organized a GoFundMe in partnership with the Day One Disaster Relief, a disaster relief organization founded in September 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Supported by community leaders – Mayor Steve Schewel; City Council members Vernetta Alston, Javiera Caballero, DeDreana Freeman, Jillian Johnson, Mark-Anthony Middleton and Charlie Reece; and members of the Durham County Board of Commissioners – the fund gives relief to individuals impacted by the outbreak and helps purchase medical and cleaning supplies. It’s reached more than $6,000 out of its $1 million goal. 

Book Harvest’s office at Rockwood Shopping Center is closed until further notice. The nonprofit originally offered bookshelves outside its doors that were filled with free books, but had to remove the shelves and donation bins to Mayor Steve Schewel‘s stay-at-home order on March 25. For regular updates, check out their Instagram or website, where they also have a “Learning at Home” resources page for the kids while they’re out of school.

Consider a donation to the Durham Arts Council. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, most of the nonprofit’s fundraising sources (facility rentals, class/camp registrations, etc.) have been significantly diminished or have stopped altogether. Your financial support means staff can continue to plan fun and exciting camps, classes and educational opportunities during social distancing and still support local artists in their professional development and helping to meet their basic needs during this time of crisis.

In response to Durham Public Schools (DPS) closing from March 16 until May 15, the DPS Foundation is currently accepting donations for meals and remote learning resources, so “no student goes hungry or falls behind.”

The Animal Protection Society of Durham moved its animals to foster care on Sunday, March 15. The animal shelter said in a statement, “We have determined that the best course of action is to limit shelter traffic to appointment-only visits for animal adoptions, surrenders and lost pet searches.” Call 919-560-0640, ext. 9 if interested in meeting an animal in foster care. For more information, visit their website.

World Health Organization COVID-19

The Scrap Exchange closed on Tuesday, March 17; 90% of its income comes from store sales. To help the art supply store stay afloat, they are currently accepting donations, here. They are also prepping craft boxes for families with children while they’re out of school. The store will post on social media when the $10 boxes become available via drive-thru pickup. Check out the store’s official statement, here

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) suspended public operations at all locations, except state parks and trails. The suspension of operations includes: 

  • The North Carolina museums of art, history and natural sciences, plus regional museums
  • State historic sites, including our own Duke Homestead, Bennett Place and Historic Stagville
  • State aquariums and Jennette’s Pier
  • The North Carolina Zoo
  • The State Library of North Carolina and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
  • The State Archives, including regional archive offices
  • North Carolina Symphony

But you can view the spaces through DNCR’s virtual 360 experiences at nc.gov/nc360.

The Museum of Durham History may be closed, but you can still engage with our history by  taking a walk through the museum’s History Groves to get some fresh air while you learn about individuals who had an impact on their community. You can also still visit its current rotating exhibit: “A Creative Protest: MLK Comes to Durham,” available online.

Here’s a map to all of the History Groves:

Engage with History Groves during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Exchange Family Center closed its office and in-person services through Sunday, March 29. Its team will work remotely to continue providing as many services as possible to the families, children and caregivers throughout the area. Staff are still available for questions or inquiries via email or phone as they adapt to remote-based approaches. If you need to contact your therapist or a member of management, please visit their staff page for a listing. That said, the nonprofit canceled Pinwheels Family Fun Day on April 26. If you have questions about your sponsorship, donation and/or have purchased a ticket and are seeking a refund, please contact Calvin at (919) 321-0657 or by email.

CATCH UP ON YOUR READING

Durham County Library locations are closed until further notice (but be sure to check out their online resources, including e-books, e-audiobooks, magazines, TV shows and more). And, you can still purchase books from our local bookstores: 

FOR THE KIDS

The Museum of Life and Science is closed, but you can visit Life and Science at Home where you’ll find daily digital content to provide you and your family with engaging ways to learn, ask questions, and discover life and science.

VIRTUAL SHOPPING TRIPS

Turning to the online community is a big theme throughout this post, especially for retailers. While shopping online is nothing new, now more than ever is a perfect time to stock up on local spring and summer fashion.

Gibson Girl Vintage online shopping
  • Vert & Vogue just put its spring collection up on its website – florals, neutrals and plenty of dresses. If you email or DM the store, they’ll provide personalized suggestions and/or styling assistance. They also encourage customers to buy gift cards, and are offering 20% off those gift cards.
  • Smitten Boutique is closed, but owner Nancy McKaig has been hosting live “Sip and Shops” on Facebook. Browse their website and Instagram to find something you like! Shipping is free. If you buy a gift card, “they don’t expire – ever,” the boutique says.
  • Bungalow offers online shopping at its website, or DM them if you like something on their Instagram. “I can ship or deliver or meet you at the shop for pickup,” says owner Celia Irvine.
  • Bull City Records – last day for delivery is March 26. Will still be shipping (one or two day turnaround, locally) with a lot more stock in the web store.
  • Gibson Girl Vintage is available for online shopping. If you order something, and it doesn’t fit, you can return it! “For my neighbors in Durham, I am happy to come to you for a fitting or a purchase,” says owner Sara Spissu. “I will ring you up curbside. I am also available for private [in-store] appointments.”
  • Hamilton Hill is closed indefinitely, but offers designer jewelry at its online store. Call or text 919-683-1474 for any inquires.
  • Vintage Home South is available for private shopping trips or private design consultations by appointment only. Call 919-599-4209, send a DM on Instagram or fill out the contact form on its website.
  • Dolly’s Vintage does not sell its products online, but they sure would love your support. They’ll soon be selling gift cards, so check them out on Instagram and online.
  • Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel, now closed, sells high-end consignment items on its website. Check out their Instagram for updates!
  • Ninth Street Flowers continues to deliver flower bouquets throughout the Triangle and allows pick up at the shop. Place your orders by phone at 919-286-5640 or on the website. P.S. They’ve waived all local delivery fees – use “freedel” at checkout for free shipping.
  • Jewelsmith is closed. Check out its online store and dress up your sweats with accessories – use the promo code “STAYWELL” for an additional 19% off your online purchase (excludes bridal). All items are cleaned and sanitized prior to shipping and will be shipped (insurance included) at no charge.
  • Bull City Fair Trade is offering ordering from their online store to have items shipped or delivered.
  • Zola Craft Gallery is closed to walk-in traffic through Sunday, March 29, but is open for curbside pickup or Durham deliveries on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, noon-4pm. Call 919-286-5112 or email to find out what’s in stock.
  • Sew Fine II – design studio closed, but designers are still doing phone and virtual appointments, and making deliveries.

STAY LOOKING FRESH

In a statement on Monday, March 23, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order to close all hair and nail salons, barbershops and spas as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25.

  • H2O Hair Salon and Spa is closed but is encouraging the purchase of a gift card. Also offering 35% off gift certificates.
  • Rock’s Bar and Hair Shop is closed. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates. “If you feel so inclined and are financially able to do so, calling and pre-paying for your next appointment is welcomed. Or if you love your stylist, call and tip them over the phone,” the shop said in a statement.
  • Spruce Hair Salon is now closed. They encourage buying gift cards (use promo code “goodvibes” for 10% off”), leaving a review on Google or Yelp, referring your friends and inviting them to follow their Instagram. Purchase Hairstory products for 30% off through the end of March, and stay tuned for their online store with T-shirts and reusable totes. All purchases will help the salon pay their bills in this time of crisis.
  • Salty Waters Float Spa is temporarily closed.
  • Bella Trio Studio is offering 20% extra value on online gift card purchases now to the end of March.
  • Vent Salon is closed.
  • Wavelengths will be closed starting Sunday, March 22.
  • Posh The Salon will be closed starting Saturday, March 21.
  • Lo & Behold is offering free shipping on all domestic orders through April. Check out their website, which offers facial care products, body moisturizers, lip balms and salves, and more.
  • Elevate Salon Institute is closed.

TOO FIT TO QUIT

Virtual Classes at Arrichion Durham
Arrichion Durham hosts a full schedule of classes via the Zoom video conference platform for the next two weeks.

Don’t cancel your memberships to gyms and fitness studios – some places, like Threehouse Studios, are exploring the idea of virtual class options, too! Keep an eye on their Instagram and Facebook for regular updates.

  • The 360 Approach is offering personal training and group classes online. Each online class is donation-based. These classes are always free to sign up, and you can make your donation here.
  • With the cancellation and postponement of many races, Bull City Running Co. launched the Durham Social Distance Project to encourage Durhamites to keep running. Each Tuesday for the next eight weeks, they’ll highlight a different segment to run on the app, Strava. At the end of each week, participants who completed the segment will be entered into a weekly prize drawing.
  • Empower Personalized Fitness is currently closed, but is offering both online training and concierge training (in-home or meet-up).
  • Growga is offering free online classes twice a week for families and kids.
  • Pure Barre is streaming live class in an exclusive Facebook group for members. Check out their latest posts to see how you can join. 
  • Durham’s nationally renowned yogi Jessamyn Stanley offers a free, two-week trial to new subscribers. Sign up on her website.
  • American Dance Festival is closed until March 28, but should you need them, email them here. All staff are working remotely. Support them by buying tickets for their 2020 season starting in June.
  • Bouncing Bulldogs hopes to resume program activities April 6.
  • Arrichion Durham tentatively reopens April 1. Until then the studio is still offering a full class schedule – virtually – for members. Not a member? They’re offering a one month unlimited option for $115 with access to the virtual studio as well as access to its regular studio once it reopens. For more information, email infodurham@arrichion.com. To sign up, use promo code “STAYHOME” at arrichion.com/stayhome.
  • Fitness @ The Cube is taking their classes online with live streaming. The studio is currently offering 10 classes for $100!
  • Jessica Collette of La Vita Yoga is offering free live online yoga classes for the next few weeks. Sign up on her website.
  • Bikram Yoga Durham starts live streaming classes on the Zoom app Saturday, March 20. Sign up for the class via Mindbody.
  • InsideOut Body Therapies launched virtual yoga and Pilates classes on Monday, March 16. You can sign up here.
  • ActivEdge offers to loan equipment for at-home workouts. Trainers will work one-on-one with clients using platforms like FaceTime, direct phone and videos, YouTube and Zoom (for live appointment times). The gym is also offering a modified class schedule, which can be booked through MindBody.
  • Bespoke Body canceled classes until April 1, but offer live classes via Zoom. If you need small equipment packs, email cid@bespokebodyfit.com.
  • CycleBar in Brier Creek offers bike rentals on a first-come first-served basis. Reserve one today for $179/month, and they’ll deliver the stationary bike for $50. Email briercreek@cyclebar.com.

WE ❤️ OUR ARTISTS

  • Patchwork Market hosts a live Instagram auction Sunday, March 21. Save the date and support our local market and local vendors.
  • NorthStar Church of the Arts launched a GoFundMe to help “artists and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to BIPOC [Black and Indigenous People/Person(s) of Color] artists, transgender and nonbinary artists, and disabled artists,” the statement says on its website. If you’re an artist, the website also has an option to apply for relief funds. And if you’re a freelance artist, there’s a growing resource list with a directory of everything you need to have or know to stay afloat. 
  • The Mothership is closed but they encourage customers to buy gift cards. And stay tuned, they might have an online shop up and running soon. Check out their official statement on Instagram, and keep your eyes peeled for the online shop.
  • Artisan Market at 305, closed this week, and will decide on a week-by-week basis whether or not it will open. For now, it encourages guests to shop from its artists’ online stores. Check out their Facebook, where they will start to list some of those names.
  • Plenty of local artisan vendors to shop from on Etsy, too!
  • Practice social distancing with The Pinhook every Tuesday at 8pm with virtual trivia until the regular event moves back to its “normal Tuesday spot at the bar. We will post a Google form with the questions. All you need to do is answer, and turn them in by 9:30pm! We will track cumulative scores and figure out a prize of some sort at the end of the quarantine,” the music venue said in a post on Instagram. For more information, check out the “Pinhook Trivia” group on Facebook.
  • Horse & Buggy Press and Friends are intent on “sparking joy and conversation through remote transmission lines for the time being,” and will host a group exhibition, “Get Off My Cloud,” with silent auction bidding starting March 25. “There will be some sparkling gems priced to delight.” They hope to reopen the gallery April 1 in “an aggressively sanitized social distancing way.” Exhibit and auction ends Saturday, April 25. Ten percent of sales from the gallery cut benefit the Triangle Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.
  • Bull City Laughs continues its comedy tour on a heavily sanitized bus.
  • Art of Cool Festival canceled its 2020 event, scheduled for Sept. 26-28. “Stay connected to the vibe and sounds of Art of Cool [by] download[ing] the new AOC Radio app to stream music, great content and festival updates.”

Buy Tickets Months in Advance at These Venues:

  • Duke Performances canceled the rest of its spring season. The Duke University Box Office will issue refunds to patrons holding tickets for presentations through May 16. Here’s the official statement
  • DPAC canceled some shows, including Evening of Entertainment and American Ballet Theatre. Other events have been postponed, like “The Color Purple,” Mandy Moore and Riverdance. Refunds will be issued automatically to canceled events. No action is needed to initiate your refund. For updates on DPAC, and a full rundown of the status of shows visit its website.
  • The Carolina Theatre is closed. Check out the full list of canceled or postponed shows here. “The Carolina Theatre of Durham Inc., the nonprofit organization which operates the city-owned venue, is constructing a project-based plan to keep its part-time concessions and technical staff working in a safe environment during this difficult time for non-salaried workers,” the theater said.
  • The Fruit stated that, “this virus could not come at a worse time for The Fruit financially. Spring for us is essentially what Christmas is to a retailer – over $60,000 in lost revenue due to local university closures alone. Our staff will suffer. We ask for your renewed support. The Fruit is a social enterprise that already offers over $200,000 in subsidy to the art community each year, and we ask you to be generous with your support for us and your regional artists, many of whom live close to the poverty line.”
Sheila Amir at The Fruit
Sheila Amir, owner/creator of “The Bulls of Durham,” says, “The Fruit is a Bull City gem unto itself.” Photo by Beth Mann

ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO SUPPORT VENDORS WITHOUT THE EVENT

Gather Green, a full-service waste management company that helps businesses and events reduce the waste they produce, has had many of their events canceled. Owner Bryce Northington is currently offering virtual waste audit and consultation specials for a fraction of the normal cost: $50 per half-hour virtual consult and $80 per hour. “Have you been collecting some interesting hard-to-recycle material? Always wondered what to do with those grocery store rubber bands? We will be available to give advice, guidance and even provide pickups for your home and business,” the company posted on Facebook. Email info@wegathergreen.com to schedule an audit.

Bowerbird Flowers wants to spread joy through its newly created “Love & Hope Bouquet,” which they hope will promote a feeling of togetherness while supporting local flower farmers. “Every week through this uncertainty, we’ll source blooms from local farmers like Sassafras Fork Farm, Spring Forth Farm, Happy as a Coneflower Farm and Color Fields. In turn, we ask you to support us (and these farmers!) by ordering a Love & Hope Bouquet.” Order one for yourself or a friend at this link

*Note: You can either pick up (they’ll place the bouquet in a holder with a name tag in front of the shop at 1322 Fordham Blvd., Chapel Hill) or they’ll deliver it for free on Tuesdays and Thursdays to Chapel Hill and Durham zip codes.

Starting March 27, Flowers by Gary offers “social distanced” deliveries through phone or website orders. Call 919-471-1566 or email flowersbygary@gmail.com.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK

LaunchBio suspended all in-person events and is going virtual. You can now join LaunchBio from anywhere in the world to experience programming for biotech entrepreneurs. It will host the first in its series of online “Larger Than Life Science” events on March 26. Register for ’Thinking Ahead’ or April 1’s “Leading Through Uncertain Times” to receive a link to participate in the webinar. If you can’t make the live webcast, RSVP anyway to get a link of the recording of the event afterward. For more details on upcoming webinars and recorded programs, check out their website.

TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS

Chapel Hill Tire started offering two new services on March 19 to protect its customers and employees. The first, curbside service, will allow customers to drop their cars off without having to come into the lobby. The second, pickup and delivery service, will provide a no-contact solution for those who must or would prefer to stay in their homes or offices. Both services employ a text-to-pay feature to further minimize face-to-face transactions. Make an appointment here.

State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) branches statewide will transition to drive-thru only for the majority of its services to reduce the possibilities of transmission of the coronavirus to members, their families and SECU employees. Members who need to access safe deposit boxes, drop off tax return information, or inquire about a loan should call the branch to schedule an appointment. To find a branch near you, click here.

Hendrick Southpoint Auto Mall now offers ways to help customers limit their health risk while supporting their needs for purchasing or servicing vehicles. Online chat is available 24/7 at all of its dealership websites. You can also get an appraisal for your current vehicle with the Value Your Trade tool or receive options for financial assistance by filling out an online finance applications. If you want to test drive a car, they will bring a highly sanitized vehicle to your home or work for an on-demand test drive and leave you with the keys. And if your vehicle is in need of servicing, they offer concierge services and will pick your vehicle up from your home or office, bring it to the dealership to have services completed and bring it back when it’s finished.

Not Just Paper, a home/school/business supply store, is still open during its regular hours, but offers curbside service for those who do not want face-to-face contact. Email or call for details: notjustpaper@bramespecialty.com or 919-688-6886.

Art and events company Ghost Flowers has shifted all its resources to helping local businesses impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. CEO Ivana Vazquez says her company has partnered with businesses, professionals and other service providers across the region to create the Crisis Co-Op, an online platform dedicated to connecting those impacted by coronavirus directly to community members looking to help.

Starting Monday, March 23, Barnes Supply Co. will only offer curbside delivery. To place your order, call 919-286-7331 or 919-286-2750 or email at info@barnessupplydurham.com.

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Downtown Durham Inc., Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and Durham Tech, host several COVID-19 Business Information Sessions. These sessions are designed to help businesses navigate the various complexities of running a business during this crisis, and to give business owners a place to share their concerns. You can register HERE for them. Most of these webinars will be available afterward to replay and will be posted on the Durham Chamber COVID-19 Resource Page.

Spoonflower is pivoting its internal manufacturing capabilities to help provide masks for health care workers.

The folks at Spoonflower have made 100 fabric masks and are starting to send them out. “We are sending some to [a] rural health center here in North Carolina, Knox Wellness in Tennessee and are working on some that will be going to Massachusetts,” CEO Michael Jones said in an email. “We will continue production (likely around 200 daily) and will prioritize North Carolina and then other requests based on when they come in. We also have many employees that have asked if they can sew some of these masks at home, so they will be helping to augment our supply.” The company is also working to get its more than 4.5 million customers and makers involved. Find daily updates here.

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

Durham Technical Community College has closed all campuses and locations effective immediately, due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). All classes, including online classes, are canceled through March 29. Beginning March 30, the majority of in-person classes will shift to remote instruction.

In-person classes are being moved to a virtual format until further notice at Duke University. The Duke Chapel, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke Lemur Center, Rubenstein Arts Center, Athletics Hall of Fame and Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center are all closed to visitors until further notice. All on-campus events – including admissions tours, chapel services, events at the museum and Duke Gardens, and all athletic events – have been canceled. Duke Health is sharing resources to help patients and community members help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

North Carolina Central University transitioned all classes (undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional) to online delivery effective Monday, March 23, until further notice.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs has set up this site as a way to quickly share support activities by partners in our community.

Bull City Responds is a list of ideas and resources for what we can do to help our Durham neighbors.

Durham Cares

End Hunger Durham food pantry list

Family Connects Durham, a no-cost, community-wide nurse home visiting program for Durham County families of newborns is now offering tele-health “home” visits by registered nurses to all new parents who would like a virtual visit.

Duke’s Family Connects International has information for parents in Durham on how to talk to kids, health in the postpartum period, parenting groups, breastfeeding support, etc.

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Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is the assistant editor at Durham Magazine. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, she attended UNC-Chapel Hill and double majored in broadcast journalism and German. She enjoys good beer, ice cream and morning runs.

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