Kasey, a vet tech at Chestnut Hill Cat Clinic, provides valet service in full protective gear. (Photo by Stacia Friedman)

by Stacia Friedman

Sheltering in place is difficult enough, but what do you do when your cat is sick, you need a ball-peen hammer or a birthday cake for your six-year-old? Fortunately, Chestnut Hill businesses are rising to the occasion.

Sick kitties and their owners will get valet service at Chestnut Hill Cat Clinic. The clinic requests pet owners park in their lot, and a staff member will come to the car to retrieve Fluffy. Payments are not made at the time of service. They are made later via phone. If there’s a serious issue to discuss, the doctor will come to your car. If that’s not the cat’s meow, what is?

“I get goosebumps talking to our members,” said Kirsten Bernal, Membership Manager at Weavers Way. Bernal is referring to the wave of gratitude expressed by Co-Op members in response to free home delivery of groceries and pet products during the pandemic. “Area supermarket deliveries are backed up for weeks,” said Bernal. “If you place your order with us before 5 p.m., you will receive your delivery the next day.”

Weavers Way home delivery service includes their usual discounts for members. Senior discounts, which are usually only offered on Tuesdays, are now available all week.  “Our free delivery service extends to low income members and people using EBT (SNAP benefits), for whom our reduced annual membership fee is $5,” said Bernal. “Members can place their orders via email at delivery@weaversway.coop. A staff member will follow up and take their payment information via phone so there is no direct contact.” For those of us hooked on Weaver’s Way guacamole, baguettes and local organic produce, this is a win-win.

Kilian’s Hardware is poised to adapt. “There’s no imminent closure,” said owner Russell Goudy, “but we may start to serve people from an outdoor counter.”

He also encourages customers to order via email at kilianhardware@mac.com.

What about June brides and graduation parties? Chestnut Hill Hotel is hoping current cancellations eventually turn into an uptick in reservations.

“Wedding  parties have canceled for March and April, but we are optimistic for June,” said Mindy Cardwell, front desk receptionist.

“We are keeping our staff and taking extra precautions, deep cleaning rooms between guests and wiping down public spaces every hour,” said Lindsay Pete, manager. “Instead of guests coming downstairs for continental breakfast, we offer room service.” 

Pete noted that the Grill is open for takeout and delivery service by Door Dash. The nearby Taproom and Market Place will also offer takeout. Paris Bistro is closed temporarily, but their sister restaurant, Campbell’s Place, has curbside service and takeout.

Some of us were panic struck when we heard the State Store was closing. Others didn’t clutch our hearts until we discovered that Artists and Craftsman had shut their doors. Fear not. Whatever you’re drawing, painting or craft needs, you can still get your pastels, oil paints, scrapbooking supplies, etc. online at www.ArtistsCraftsman.com.

Also open is Night Kitchen, offering curbside pickup and carry-out for their delectable butter cookies, cakes and breads, including special occasion cakes. Baker Street has suspended their table service but continues to offer take-out. Cake, sadly, has shut its doors in keeping with the city’s restaurant closures and is not offering take-out. “Bredenbeck’s is closed until April 1,” said Jake Boyd, a fourth generation member of the family-owned bakery.

If your car is due for inspection, the good news is you probably will not get a ticket. The bad news is that Lehmann’s Garage is taking it “day by day,” and Roanoke Garage’s voice mail messages announces that they are closed but planned to open March 23. 

With things changing rapidly, it’s best to keep up with the latest developments. The Chestnut Hill Business District has done its best to keep its business community and shoppers informed.

“Small businesses and their employees are especially sensitive to the economic instability that accompanies such occurrences, and we ask that our customers continue to patronize  local businesses as conditions permit,” said Chestnut Hill Business District Executive Director, Philip Dawson “For businesses who are not permitted to remain open or who have chosen to close voluntarily, we encourage customers to visit our website at chestnuthillpa.com and click on the COVID-19 banner.  Many businesses are offering special online shopping and delivery options to accommodate these necessary restrictions and allow their customers to order meals and merchandise from the comfort of their homes.”

Yes, it is disheartening to see many of our charming retail shops, businesses and restaurants closed. We worry about their owners and employees. We also worry about our senior citizens for whom social distancing presents tremendous challenges. When you go out for a walk, we encourage you to wave hello — at a distance — to strangers and to smile at your neighbors. Chestnut Hill is a resilient community, and when the pandemic is over, it will thrive again.

Stacia Friedman is a Mt. Airy resident, author of light-hearted novels and freelance contributor to several websites and area publications.

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