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Friday, March 13
Friday, March 13th is the date I’m using for when the world as we personally know it imploded because of Covid-19. It’s the date that I decided the General Design Co. team would work from home for “the next few days.”
Saturday, March 14th, I had a long discussion with my husband and he decided to temporarily close his bar, All Souls. It was a difficult decision no matter how you cut it. It seemed unwise financially to close for a busy St. Patrick’s day weekend, but even more unwise to stay open when the very point of a bar is to bring people together, and serve them booze.
The days following, it was clear that the entire restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry was going to have their world upended by a giant table flip of our social norms. These are the many businesses we call clients, friends, and family.
We spent the following days scrambling to think of ways we could help. We could put together a list of restaurants to order delivery and takeout from, with a special emphasis on our clients. We could put together links to resources providing guidance on the CARES Act and local government financial assistance for small businesses. We could design infographics and social media campaigns for public health guidelines recommended by the CDC. All worthwhile but already being handled really well by others.
How do we add value and not just noise?
We remembered that the power of our strategic branding work starts with the first conversation. We remembered that we help our clients bring their ideas into sharper focus through open dialogue and a true understanding that design is a problem-solving tool. So, we are piloting a project we’re calling Office Hours. By opening our proverbial doors to any small business that is looking to brainstorm, come up with new solutions, or just think of a path forward, we are hoping to contribute some clarity to the chaos.
We’re optimistic about what things look like on the other side of this but realistic about how long it will take. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick but in the meantime, we are here and our door is open.