by Ken Katz
At time when locally owned businesses are mostly just struggling to survive, we were delighted to see several examples this past month of businesses doing far more than could have been expected under the circumstances. Their doing so is a strong indicator of their commitment to their future on Grand Avenue and to the community of which they are a part.
When the building exterior at Ikaros Greek Restaurant was hit by vandals, owners George and Rochael Andranly could have taken the easy way out and simply painted over the graffiti. Instead, they opted to paint the entire wall bordering the Walker Avenue parking lot entrance the same color that was used on the front wall mural painted by Bunnie Reiss last year (December 2019 Splash Pad News). They also spruced up the landscaping alongside the building and the net result is a huge improvement. When we emailed Ikaros for more information and to express our personal thanks, Rochael sent a reply that included this message:
(Please) mention how grateful we are to the community for supporting us during this time—we are overwhelmed with the generosity and support and are amazed we’ve been able to stay open through this time.
Ikaros’s nextdoor neighbor, MeloMelo Kava Bar, was just about to celebrate its Grand Opening when the shelter-in-place order was initiated. Despite that setback, their plans for a living wall on the front facade were completed just a couple of weeks ago. If you click on the center photo above, you can clearly see that it’s an intricate assortment of succulents, flowering perennials, and what look like ferns. A similar installation is obviously planned for the side wall on the interior but those plans may be on hold until they’re able to permanently reopen their doors. As an aside, this project appears to be a first in the neighborhood commercial district but we suspect that, over time, it will be widely emulated.
Grand Lake Ace Hardware hasn’t made any major recent improvements that we know of, but they do qualify as a highly valued member of the community based on several decades during which they’ve provided essential services. We’ve written repeatedly about their competitive pricing, incredible personal service and huge variety of merchandise. During the current pandemic, we can note that they are also now offering, through the Ace corporate website, free delivery to your door with a minimum $50 purchase if you’re an Ace Rewards member. We availed ourselves of those services a couple of weeks back for some yard improvements and, despite some delays, we’re extremely pleased with the friendly, zero-contact delivery. Pre-ordered curbside pickup is available as well.
Almond & Oak has resumed serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (from 10 am – 2 pm). It’s a very full menu including cocktails and bottles of wine. When very specifically asked, general manager Megan Fawcett also confirmed that beignets are always on the menu. In ordinary times, we might have said that their beignets are “to die for” but in these most extraordinary of times, let’s note that it’s more accurate to say that their beignets are worth “living for.” It’s take-out only, but orders can be placed and paid for over the phone or, alternatively, at the sidewalk window
As we were just about to go to press, we received a message from our friends at All Things Hemp. They’re reporting that they’ve filed at least seven applications for small business relief and been turned down by each – possibly due to bureaucratic confusion over the chemical makeup of CBD Oil. Some funds are coming in from online sales but not nearly enough to cover their basic expenses. Here’s a portion of their email request:
Now that we are going into month 3 of no assistance and still slim to no business, we’ve accepted the fact that we need to reach out to the community for support. We have just started a go fund me page. Our amount is low, as we are just trying to cover our rent, utilities, taxes, (not even salaries) just to get us through the next few months which by then hopefully people will feel a bit more safe to go out.
If you’re in a position to help them out, please consider a donation on their GoFundMe campaign page. Or alternatively, visit their website and place an order for something to help ease the anxiety that’s become understandably pervasive these days.