The pandemic has called upon all of us to do things differently. From working-at-home to working out via online classes, business has been nothing but the usual.
With little notice, local businesses have been forced to find new ways of delivering their goods and services in order to weather this crisis. From curbside pickup to finish-at-home meals, mastering the art of the pivot has become a survival skill.
I’d like to give a shout-out to a few shining examples of the saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
Tavern on Kruse. Owner Kent Lewis has shared his journey with regulars and subscribers to his emails. In the beginning, he called upon those of us who could afford to eat out, to help support those who couldn’t by offering free meals to unemployed restaurant workers for every regular meal ordered by customers. He recalls being overcome with emotion seeing both employed and unemployed workers standing six feet apart in line waiting for their food and seeing the appreciation they each held for each other—“It was about community,” he writes. In the summer, he provided nightly jazz music outdoors to packed patios as customers took full advantage of the opportunity to dine out while still abiding by the governor’s safety guidelines. Now he’s looking into adapting 14 of his outdoor tables into heated tables and working on a custom-built, large, clear vinyl canopy that will accommodate outdoor dining come rain or shine.
Other local restaurants deserve shout-outs too as they find ways to encourage patrons to brave the elements outside with tabletop fireplaces, outdoor fire pits, patio heaters and of course, those winter cocktails that warm you up from the inside.
Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department. While many of our favorite summer programs this year were canceled, many were not, thanks to the pivoting ingenuity of the Parks and Recreation staff. From a Farmers Market that regulated capacity both in terms of vendors to shoppers to a Halloween trick-or-treat party that morphed into a drive-through trick or treat event to offering virtual classes, staff did their best to keep us “Living Well in LO.”
Hunger Fighters Oregon. With an increased need, this nonprofit organization has had to rethink how they do things quickly to both increase their outreach while keeping everyone safe. Some of their pivots have included serving pre-packed groceries curbside based on family size as well as providing a delivery service. And for Advent, they suggested volunteers try a “reverse” Advent calendar, adding different items each day (December 1 – cereal, December 2 – peanut butter) to a box to be donated on Christmas Eve.
La Provence. This popular spot improvised in several ways to keep patrons coming through their doors including offering finish-at-home meals where the chef gives you a head start but lets you finish baking at home so it’s hot and ready when you are. Entrees have included Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Northwest Salmon Risotto. Another new service is their Le Petit Market, offering items like U-bake baguettes, croissants or cookie dough as well as a French Onion Soup kit that you can make at home at your convenience.
Lakewood Center for the Arts. What do you do when an annual event you host that draws in close to 25,000 people from the region has to be canceled? You pivot, if you’re the Lakewood Center for the Arts, and you take one big event and break it down into a series of smaller ones. From “Art in the Bubble,” a monthly artist talk series offered via Zoom, to a week of Color Art workshop videos, the festival has stayed true to its mission to provide arts education and celebrate culture and community through art.
My daughter and wife. What happens when you quarantine two creative people under the same roof? Well one, my daughter Riley, wrote a second book to follow up her first, Waiting at Hayden’s, which was named a best beach reads of 2019. Then, she and my wife paired their talents to create an Etsy shop called Heartspun Printables featuring wall art, greeting cards and bookmarks that you can download on your computer and print at home or your local print shop! They opened it on New Year’s Eve, 2020 in hopes of ushering in the new year with something positive. Check it out!
As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I’ve had to do my own share of pivoting this year too, ensuring that both home sellers and home buyers have a safe and positive experience. Here’s hoping that 2021 provides opportunities for all of us to thrive.