Edmonds Entrepreneurs get Innovative, Part One
Over the last several weeks, business in downtown Edmonds has been anything but usual. Since the shutdown of dine in eating, most retail, bars, and salons/spas was ordered by Governor Inslee on March 16th, the landscape of our downtown economy has shifted drastically.
With any challenge or crisis, an opportunity to pivot and adapt presents itself. Some of our business owners have come up with innovative and creative ways to adjust how they serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Retailers collaborate with survival kits
Edmonds Localvore has been a staple in the Edmonds retail scene since 2014. A collective effort created by five women-owned businesses—Rogue, Walnut Street Coffee, The Refinery Salon, Scratch Distillery, and ZINC Edmonds —they host popular events like the Localvore passport shopping extravaganzas and holiday First Dibs.
With brick and mortar retailers closed due to the pandemic, the leaders of Edmonds Localvore collaborated once again to quickly mobilize an online site with a “survival kit” theme so customers can still shop and support their favorite merchants. So far 30 different merchants in downtown Edmonds have taken part in the effort.
Kits have included themes like self-care, art/creativity, cooking, flowers, wine, and clothing/accessories. People who live within five miles of downtown Edmonds also receive free delivery right to their doorsteps.
The project has proven extremely popular with customers, many who’ve used the service not only to treat themselves but to send birthday gifts to friends as well as for holidays like Mother’s Day. To see all of the available kits, visit edmondslocalvore.com.
Restaurant pop-ups and meal donations
Shubert Ho of Feed Me Hospitality, which includes restaurants in town like Salt & Iron, Bar Dojo, The Market, and Sankai Sushi, pivoted from dine-in to takeout right away. But he did so with a creative twist.
Each week at Salt & Iron a special themed menu is created that is available only on Friday and Saturday night. Offerings like tacos and tots, nostalgic chicken penne, and a collaboration with Javelina Craft Barbecue (complete with a giant mobile barbecue truck) are being happily gobbled up by locals.
In addition to the pop-up, Ho turned Salt & Iron into a community kitchen during the week to prepare meals for kids, seniors, first responders, and frontline medical workers. Meals have been delivered to local area hospitals, Edmonds School District, South County fire, and on Mother’s Day 150 salmon lunches were prepared and delivered to senior citizens in Edmonds in collaboration with the Edmonds Senior Center. Donations can be made to purchase these meals on their website.
And restaurants all throughout downtown have made getting your favorite meals easy during the shutdown. Hamburger Harry’s has added special limited edition items to their normal menu each week. Calypso is now offering free local delivery in addition to takeout from their restaurant. If you pop by, you can admire the beautiful sidewalk chalk art created by co-owner Jennifer Myatt. And Demetris Woodstone Taverna has added family meals to their menu that can feed two to six people in addition to their regular takeout menu options.
From spirits to sanitizer
Scratch Distillery has added a new product in addition to their award-winning spirits—hand sanitizer! In the early days of the pandemic, sanitizer became one of the items that was impossible to find on store shelves. As the calls for help were building from organizations helping the homeless and other vulnerable populations, Scratch and other local distillers put their ABV know-how and stills to work for a new purpose.
Scratch has partnered with local winemakers and breweries (including a collaboration with Salish Sea Brewing) to repurpose thousands of gallons of donated wine and beer into hand sanitizer. They are selling the hand sanitizer as well as t-shirts to raise funds so they can give community organizations like Washington Kids in Transition, Cocoon House, and The Edmonds Food Bank with much needed supplies of the in-demand commodity.
Changes to liquor laws help local businesses
Washington State Liquor Control has loosened some long-standing laws allowing restaurants and bars that serve food to be able to offer more options to their patrons. Bottles of wine, spirits, pre-bottled cocktails, growlers, and cocktail kits were the first items allowed to be sold.
Kelnero was one of the first to take advantage with their creative cocktail crates that include all of the fixings along with instructional videos posted on social media to make your own Kelnero favorite at home.
Recently, WSLCB has further relaxed laws and is now allowing restaurants and bars to sell their own pre-mixed cocktails for takeout. Some limitations do apply—like the requirement to also buy food and sorry, imbibing is not allowed in public—but this is welcomed news to customers who have been craving some of their favorite drinks by our many talented Edmonds bartenders.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this series where we feature more Edmonds business innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic. For a list of businesses offering takeout or curbside services, visit loveedmonds.com. To learn more about all of the great businesses in downtown Edmonds, visit edmondsdowntown.org.
Written by Kelsey Foster