During the COVID-19 crisis, people are stepping up to help small businesses in a big way – but our small businesses are also stepping up their efforts to reach their customers. Small business owners are finding new and innovative ways to bring their goods to market; entrepreneurs are going online, shifting inventory, adding hours, and even offering new ‘virtual services.’ Take a look at what these businesses are doing:

The Makeup Curio – Jenn Dugan’s makeup and special effects studio is open for makeup tutorials – online that is. Dugan is doing a series of virtual beauty makeup classes. Topics include Beauty Basics, Framing the Face, Smokey Eyes, and Becoming a Pinup. Each class is $15 or $50 for the series. Once registered, you will be sent a list of supplies needed (though, it’s likely many of you will have a host of makeup and tools just sitting around that you don’t know how to use properly). Learn more and register for Dugan’s classes on Facebook at this link. https://www.facebook.com/themakeupcuriobeauty/ The next class is April 6 at 6pm.

Coiled, a textured salon – Lavida Barkley is hitting the streets, bringing her love of curls right to people’s doors. Barkley owns a salon which focuses on care for curls, and she is making deliveries of products from her retail salon – but not before she washes, puts on gloves, and bags everything. Barkley is also doing online sessions with clients through a subscription service, so they can stay on top of personal care even in these uncertain times. Clients can book virtual services and make purchases through her website at https://lavidabarkley.com/

The Bundle Store – Amber Chaves, owner of this store that specializes in baby and toddler clothing and equipment, has long been offering online services. Most of the products in her successful Ballston Spa can also be ordered online, but these days she’s also doing vitual “tummy time” classes where parents can enjoy the camaraderie of other parents and virtual one-on-one babywearing consultations to help you navigate the ins and outs of this tool. Visit the website to shop for bibs, bath, diapers, bags, swaddling, teething, eco-friendly toys, and so much more. Or book a timeslot for an upcoming virtual class. Gift certificates available, too. https://www.thebundlestore.com/

Bliss Juice.Smoothie.Self – This women-owned and operated juice and smoothie bar is offering takeout on their full menu. Order bowls, juice, toast, and other power-ups through the website and it will be available for pick-up at their walk-up window in Delmar. Easy-peasy. Everything is made to order with fresh, healthy ingredients. So, if you’re hungry for a great smoothie bowl, a nitro cold brew, a handmade smoothie, or a cold-pressed juice – this is the place to go. Hey, you gotta eat, right? https://www.blissjuicesmoothieself.com/

Dance Fire Studio – The beat goes on at this dance studio in Niskayuna. Owners Natalia O’Connor and her partner Florin Vlad continue to offer their group and private dance lessons online. They stream classes at the regularly scheduled time, so customers can keep learning from the safety and comfort of their own homes. They also provide live video lessons and offline assignments for students. Lessons are taking place almost daily. Take this time to learn something new, get exercise, or simply support another local business. Gift certificates are also available. https://www.dancefirestudio.com/

Fresh & Fly Clothing – Fresh & Fly is the official headquarters of swag, and while you may not be able to visit the store in person, you can still enhance your swag online through the store’s website. Fresh & Fly maintains a full catalogue of clothing for men, women, and children right on the store website, and everything is shipped right to your home. Load up on clothes for spring and summer. And if you sign up for frequent “fly” miles, you can get 10% off your first order, and access to special promotions. As owner Angelo Maddox said in a recent video post, “Don’t serve time. Let this time serve you.” https://www.freshandflyinc.com 


Right now, lots of people are ordering their groceries online and buying in bulk. We want to put in a pitch for helping the small retailers by putting whatever money you can into their cash register. If you have to make a trip to the grocery store or if you just need one or two items, consider visiting one of these local retailers:

Faisal West Indian Grocery Store and Halal Meat – Karim Mahroof brought an almost full-service groceries to a food desert. When he expanded his store in 2018 with assistance from the Community Loan Fund, he was able to bring fresh produce, dairy, and meat to the impoverished Mont Pleasant neighborhood of Schenectady. A visit to his store now for meat, seafood, fruit, or canned goods is an investment in the business’ future, helping ensure that Faisal’s can continue to provide fresh, healthy foods for local Schenectady residents. 859 Crane Street, Schenectady.

Honest Weight Food Co-op – Albany’s homegrown grocery store continues to bring food and products from local producers and farms to the public. The store is offering a $20 off coupon now to help lighten the load for shoppers. Staff continues to keep store shelves clean and abundantly stocked, and in the event that a particular brand you want isn’t on the shelves, the team encourages you to try something new. The store is open regular hours and 6am-8am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday for older adults and immunocompromised. Learn more and get access to the coupon here: https://www.honestweight.coop/

Schenectady Trading Company – Caroline Bardwell continues to sell Schenectady-made gifts and products, but since the pandemic she has shifted focus to grocery items and food. Customers can use her online store to purchase milk, peanut butter, coffee, bread and other necessities – and all are locally manufactured, so you’re not just supporting one business, you’re supporting two! Groceries are available for curbside pick-up or they can be shipped. Perishables are available curbside only. https://www.theschenectadytradingcompany.com

We are so proud of our talented business owners who are pivoting so adroitly to stay accessible to customers even when their doors are shut. Please reach out and take advantage of these great new services – and be part of the drive to keep our Main Street businesses open.