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Going Online to Keep Business Going

For many, moving their key business online is the best way to see the COVID-19 crisis through. It’s a way to offer critical services with consistency, a way to help people stick to their fitness or therapy regine, and a way to keep businesses in front of customers.

Pearl Street Warehouse (33 Pearl St. SW, pearlstreetwarehouse.com), is offering family meals, bar supplies and adult beverages for pick-up and delivery. But founder Nicholas Fontana acknowledges that Pearl Street is probably best known as a music venue.

“It’s been a struggle, I guess you might say,” Fontana said. In the first two weeks after closures, customers rallied to order food and gift certificates, but that has slowed to a trickle. That means that he might have to rethink the food service strategy.

However, Pearl Street is still offering weekly online concerts through the Pearl Street Live series, featuring many of the artists who had been scheduled to play live at the venue prior to the outbreak. Programmed by co-owner Bruce Gates, April’s ‘Pearl Street Live’ shows have featured singer-songwriter Jason Ager, and North Carolina’s Sarah Shook and the Disarmers are scheduled for May 22. Many artists perform from their own homes in Nashville or Los Angeles, adding to the intimacy of the event.

“Bands are able to put their virtual tip jars out, so it’s been okay for them,” Fontana said. “It gives them an opportunity to play and maybe make a little money. Since he isn’t sure when the venue, which has a capacity of 300, will be able to open its doors again, and what that will look like, online shows are not a profit maker. “It’s basically a way to keep the Pearl Street brand alive,” he said.

Entertainment isn’t the only type of business that’s gone virtual. Local pediatric therapy practice Skills on the Hill (1301 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, www.skillsonthehill.com) is reaching out online to offer support to parents as they are consumed with engaging their children who are having their own challenges.

The therapy clinic is offering free online developmental consultations, advice on how to handle day-to-day challenges through their online blog, and ideas for stimulating play and movement through their “6 Ways to Play” social media campaign. There’s also a wide variety of classes available online.

Fit4Mom, dc.fit4mom.com, is also offering virtual classes for moms and kids and studios like Hot Yoga Capitol Hill (410 H St. NE) are live streaming classes via Zoom. Learn more at hotyogacapitolhill.com.

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