The stories of business resiliency
Profiles in Resilience showcases East King County businesses and nonprofits that survived and even started up during COVID-19 lockdowns. Check back periodically as we update this page with new profiles.
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Columbia Choirs of Metropolitan Seattle
Columbia Choirs of Metropolitan Seattle is an award-winning, community-based group of nine choirs. It brings together singers, ages four to adult, to participate in music training and performance opportunities.
When the pandemic hit, Columbia Choirs had to pivot to keep the over 200 members of the organization’s choirs and audiences safe. It continues to provide opportunities for personal development, community building and cultural learning through the power of singing.
The Metal Shop Gold and Silver
The Metal Shop Gold and Silver, located in downtown Redmond near Trader Joes, offers a variety of unique products that make great gifts, collectibles or as an investment including coins, bullion, gold and silver, jewelry, and hand-poured silver holiday-themed items.
A high level of personal service and providing education to customers are what distinguish the shop and helped it continue to thrive during the pandemic. Owner Geoff Minor has over a decade of experience and offers services including appraisals and purchase of precious metals. “My focus is educating customers on how investing in precious metals including silver, gold, platinum, and palladium can be a great addition to your financial portfolio.”
To summarize the support that Postdoc Brewing received during the pandemic, we would say “overwhelming.” Postdoc Brewing wanted to provide for its community, and in turn, they provided for Postdoc.
When customers weren’t able to drink onsite, they bought product through Postdoc’s packaged beer fridge. The company did everything it could to ensure the safety of its customers and staff first. Then, Postdoc had to become creative and make sacrifices.
- Postdoc turned its empty taproom into a craft marketplace for artists to sell their homemade crafts
- The company hosted virtual happy hour tastings, and created a socially distanced beer garden in its parking lot
- Postdoc paired beer-to-go with food trucks who were still looking to serve
It was a remarkable team effort, and Postdoc Brewing is thankful to everyone who supported them during the pandemic, even those who just kept them company during those difficult weeks.
Kirkland’s Studio East has provided theater training and performances since 1992. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted the organization, since they weren’t able to generate income through ticket sales for mainstage productions and Storybook Theater.
Further impacting the organization, most schools were virtual for the entire year with no in-person enrichment programs offered.
Studio East pivoted to offer online classes with the first two weeks of the stay-at-home order. They also created virtual summer camps to complement their limited capacity in-person camps, and embraced additional virtual offerings. Now, Studio East’s productions can be experienced by patrons and students locally and around the world, for free.
Naan-n-Curry has been serving Pakistani and Indian food in Renton and Issaquah for over 15 years. Prior to the pandemic, 85% of the business was in dine-in, and 15% take-out with no delivery service in place. When the pandemic hit, business plummeted. The pandemic was devastating to this family-owned restaurant.
The owner of Naan-n-Curry credits state mandated commission limits for 3rd party delivery services, and used grants, and a PPP loan to keep the business open. The restaurant implemented an online ordering process at both the Renton and Issaquah locations to enhance to go service. Employees helped set up and provide delivery and takeout services. Naan-n-Curry continues to invest in its employees moving forward with extra hours, pay increases, and the opportunity for cross-training.
Mioposto Pizzeria is locally owned with four locations including Mercer Island. The “date night” charming bistros specialize in delicious open flame baked pizzas.
Mioposto was hit hard by the pandemic. But they met the challenges with resilience. They pivoted to new technology to streamline the influx of takeout orders from start to finish. And added safe and comfortable outdoor dining. And now their customers can order online and enjoy delicious dining options at home with food and beverages from an extensive to-go menu.
DMW Martial Arts & Fitness
DMW Martial Arts is a Martial Arts School in Snoqualmie that provides challenging, disciplined, fun, and family-friendly martial arts and self-defense training.
Like many small businesses, DMW Martial Arts was hit hard during the pandemic. The business had to flip in-person classes to an all-virtual program in one day. DMW ensured strong safety protocols to allay parents concern when classes returned to the mat. Now, the company offers in-person and virtual classes.
Pushing Boundaries is a non-profit that provides exercise therapy for people navigating paralysis. Given the medical complexity of its clientele, navigating COVID-19 has been a challenge.
Maintaining connection with clientele was incredibly important. Despite having to close their doors, the entire staff kept in touch with clients, doing virtual check-ins and Zoom hours.
New procedures, investment in PPE, and limiting the number of people on site are just a few of the adjustments that Pushing Boundaries has made. Now new and returning clients are receiving care and Pushing Boundaries’ doors are back open.
Discover Yoga in Redmond closed one week before the state-wide lockdown in March 2020, thinking that they would reopen in a couple of weeks.
When they realized that this wouldn’t be the case, they transitioned into livestreaming classes, which are now “here to stay.” Learn more about Discover Yoga’s journey by listening to their video!
The Ally League
The Ally League was founded by Kesha Rodgers and Sara So, two friends and mothers. Located in Kirkland, the company’s mission is to transform empathy to action in the fight against racism. In the fall of 2020, they launched Black Boxes – gift boxes curated with items from Black-owned businesses for consumers and business clients.
The Ally League was founded during the pandemic. Business challenges included funding, capacity, and awareness. Rodgers and So encourage other small businesses to not be shy about seeking support. So says, “There are more resources than ever for small businesses, especially minority-owned.”
The outlook for the year ahead is bright for The Ally League. So reports, “We just won two pitch contests focused on our membership training plans, and it’s been a great confirmation that our unique approach to anti-racism training and support can fill a big, unmet need.”
Gallagher Tool and Instrument
Gallagher Tool and Instrument designs and builds capital equipment used by other businesses in the manufacturing, aerospace and life science industries. This small, family owned company saw some business dry up at the start of the pandemic, as some customers cut back projects or even went out of business.
The company pivoted to take on job shop work in its machine shop, which had previously been supporting capital equipment development efforts.
Dr. Anne-Katrin Gallagher is the General Manager of Gallagher Tool and Instrument. Noting the resurgent interest in capital equipment development, she sees a good opportunity to grow the business if it can continue to support its expanded customer base.