The Challenges Continue……
Just when it seemed like some semblance of normalcy (when did that word become part of our vocabulary) would return, the Delta Variant throws a wrench into our lives. And after months of challenges with lockdowns, restrictions and uncertainty, the small business people who own the bars and independent breweries are again faced with necessary restrictions and reluctance of many people to eat or drink inside.
And since reopening during the summer, they’ve faced additional hurdles such as availability of servers and kitchen help and even supplies.
For example, the situation which one of my favorite bar owners, Jessica Neal, the owner of the Broken Anchor Bar and Grill in Bandon on the Southern Oregon Coast, faced recently where she could not get French fries because of supply chain issues.
The Broken Anchor is a wonderful establishment with a good selection of taps, great cocktails, superb food and a dedicated staff.
We had dinner and drinks there in 2017 on the way back from a trip to the Redwoods up through the Oregon Coast. We met and had a great conversation with Jessica, originally from Minnesota, who has developed a loyal clientele at her establishment.
Another of my favorite entrepreneurs is John Lyons. He and Alan Blackwell are the co-owner of the Salty Rhino, a small and very hospitable watering hole right in my own community of West Linn – a burb, twelve miles south of Portland.
John and his partner have been agile, expanded their capacity outdoors and reached out to the community during the disjointed and inconsistent communication over the last eighteen months from the State of Oregon about when they could open and under what guidelines.
These two are typical of the thousands of hospitality owners throughout the US and the world, for that matter, who have pushed on through adversity. So what can we do for Jessica, John and their colleagues?
Patronize them! If you can’t go in person or may be reluctant to eat on site, then order take-out. And just express your appreciation and encouragement for the efforts they have made even if you don’t patronize them on a regular basis.
In fact, I think John and Jessica, would appreciate an attaboy/girl in a quick message on Facebook even if you are one of the many followers of this blog who live in other parts of the US or Europe. Their Facebook sites are below:
Or you could even give them a call. It’s one little thing we can all do to encourage others during this pandemic. Their numbers are on the Facebook pages.
Portland Bar Owners Step Up to the Plate!
One of the most discouraging issues during this pandemic has been how public health and safety have become inextricably intertwined with politics. While I will not get into my thoughts about why, the statistics show that masks and vaccinations are key methods to beat this scourge and return to normal. *1 (External photo attribution below)
It is thus encouraging that in Portland, a group of bar owners have taken the initiative to help – not through a government mandate – but because of their own concern about their patrons and being business smart and following the advice of scientists and public health experts rather than ****%%%$$##.
An August 5th Willamette Week article entitled “Portland Bars Plan a ‘Vaxx Coalition’to Uniformly Require Proof of COVID 19 Vaccination for Entry.” tells the story.
They are following the lead of about 300 bars and restaurants in San Francisco and over 100 in Seattle who implemented the policies earlier. In SF, the Bar Owners’ Alliance does not require vaccination proof for outdoor seating and lets the allied bar enforce what required proof of vaccination on their terms.
Interestingly enough: “Seattle and San Francisco bars have reported backlash, not from patrons, but from online anti-vaxx trolls, who, hearing about the vaccination-for-entry mandate, have inundated participating businesses with one-star reviews.” Go figure!
Help Save the Earth – Ridwell can Help
Many of us who are trying to be good stewards of the earth, grow frustrated that although we try to conscientiously recycle, a lot of our waste still goes to landfills or it is just difficult to find options. Janet and I are pleased with our new option.
Ridwell is a Seattle-based start-up founded in their home in 2018 by a father-son team – the son only six years old (Ryan and Owen Metzger). For a fee of $10 to $14 per month, they pick-up at your home (or condo) or company twice each month, the items that the standard recyclers won’t take – batteries, plastic film, threads (clothes and shoes or glasses which they will provide to non-profit partners), light bulbs and a rotating category.
In our first pick-up, the rotating category was devices – old cellphone, remote control devices, hard-drives, GPS devices, etc. And for a nominal fee ($1) when you have enough to justify a stop, they will take those ubiquitous clamshell containers or Styrofoam or even things like wine corks, electrical cords or Christmas lights and old computer equipment etc. They work with non-profit partners to re-use items like old glasses.
I was impressed with the Ridwell website with explanatory videos and links to clarify what can and cannot be included in categories. And they have responded promptly a few times by e-mail when I had a question not found there.
Ridwell needs a threshold of clients in each city to provide their coverage, but it’s not inordinate and based on favorable reviews, more people are adding to the nucleus. Besides a sizeable base in Seattle, they now have about 6,000 in Portland and its burbs. Janet and I are delighted we can add this small step to expand our environmental efforts.
Check it out. https://www.ridwell.com/ You may have a Ridwell-type option in your area that’s worth exploring.
Another Small Business Success…
Valerie Bowler is the wife of my former colleague, Carson (CBO) Bowler, an outstanding environmental and natural resources partner at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt. Valerie and Carson are also wonderful parents and human beings who live in Portland although unfortunately, both, like my wife, are University of Oregon grads and ardent Duck supporters. Carson even went to U of O Law School where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.
One of Val’s joys is baking, something which in 2019, she decided to turn into a business working from their residence. As she states on her website https://www.valscakespdx.com/about :
“When my boys no longer needed (as much) holding, I tried my hand at baking. That’s where I found joy, in scoops of flour, cups of sugar, and teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Baking is now my happy place. I love that moment when I can smell that the cake is ready to come out of the oven. I love the peaceful process of spreading delicious frosting. And I love collaborating with you to design the perfect cake for your special occasion.”
I wanted to surprise my wife on her recent birthday, so I ordered one of Val’s cakes – a lemon poppy-seed beauty with cream cheese icing. We picked it up and it was our dessert at our younger daughter’s house where she and her husband watched their 2 1/2 year daughter devour it. It was a hit with everyone else as well.
Val is taking a slight break during August, but if you live in Portland or the surrounding area, you can order one of her works of art at her website or see the info at her instagram account http://@valscakespdx
By the way, Val’s husband also bears a striking resemblance to former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Art Vandelay who you can check out by clicking on the link.
*1 (Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syringe2.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. 21 June 2006.