Pandemic Pivoting: What it Means to be Action-Oriented in 2020

How small businesses, and the Main Street, are adjusting their business models during a year of uncertainty.

In the face of uncertainty, many of Cleveland Park’s small businesses have shown an enormous capacity to pivot their day to day operations and revamp their business models. Consumer and customer expectations, along with government health and safety regulations and requirements, have forced our local businesses to change how they may have operated for years, even decades, in the neighborhood.

Restaurants like Sababa, Al Volo, and Tino’s Pizzeria have all expanded outdoors to provide socially-distanced seating. Salons, including Imaj Hair Salon and Tigi Salon, are spacing reservations and have implemented industry best-practices for keeping customers safe while also continuing to help them look and feel their best. While the gym doors are open at Foundation Fitness and Orange Theory for individual and class workouts, virtual options are also available for getting an at-home fitness session. And retailers like Town Jewelers, Transcendence-Perfection-Bliss of the Beyond, Brothers Sew & Vac, and All Fired Up have updated their websites, set up new reservation and appointment systems, are limiting the number of customers in their shops at one time, and, in the case of All Fired Up, have created take-home painting kits and virtual classes to help channel customers’ inner artist.

Cleveland Park Main Street, too, realized that the budget and workplan we began the year with needed to pivot radically to support the evolving needs of our small businesses. While we can’t wait for the day to meet many of you for the first time face-to-face, monies set aside for in-person events and activities (even our kickoff event and fundraiser, scheduled for the first days of the COVID-19 outbreak) were moved into direct assistance for businesses in the form of small business grants. In all, for Fiscal Year 2020, Cleveland Park Main Street will have re-allocated and leveraged other sources of funding to provide over $60,000 in small business grants to our corridor. While the individual amounts of the grants–$4,000 or less–may seem small compared to larger District and Federal loans and grants that many Cleveland Park businesses have taken on or were awarded, our small grants cover the cost of urgent equipment repairs, point of sale upgrades, COVID-19 protective equipment, and even a month of overdue rent, that helps our businesses stay afloat and thrive.

With the assistance of a team of volunteers from across the Cleveland Park community who generously donated their time and energy to review and score applications, the Main Street is proud to publicly announce the awardees of our latest round of small business grants (in alphabetical order):

Al Volo Trattoria & Bar

Atomic Billiards

Byblos Deli

Cleveland Park Bar & Grill

Cleveland Park Liquors

Cleveland Park Valet

Fat Pete’s BBQ

Nanny O’Brien’s

Transcendence-Perfection-Bliss of the Beyond

Unfortunately, many more businesses applied for the Main Street grants than we were able to fund, with each and every applicant demonstrating need during this ongoing social and economic crisis. With this in mind, I would encourage you, if you are able, to donate to our Invest in Recovery campaign so Cleveland Park Main Street can continue to provide this type of direct assistance for small businesses as we pivot towards the future on the corridor.