Takoma Park businesses are a huge part of our lives and right now they need us!
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1970s. As a child, my mother would send me to the corner market to pick up groceries. I had a list that I would hand to the owner, stretching on my toes to reach over the counter. He would hand me back a bag of groceries and add the total to my mother’s account.
These memories of growing up and the small businesses that made my neighborhood feel like a community are a big part of why I wanted to raise my family in Takoma Park.
Takoma Park businesses are a huge part of our lives. From the first time, my children went to the Co-op by themselves, to their first haircuts at Shampoo (and now at Scissor & Comb), to ordering flowers for special occasions from Park Florist, to always taking my mother to Mark’s Kitchen and then for ice cream when she visited, to ordering from Red Chilis or Sardis for Friday night movie night, or being able to find amazing jollof rice at Mansa Kunda or Patrick’s in the Crossroads; Takoma Park businesses and the people who own them are part of what makes this City home.
For a City of 2.4 square miles, we have an incredible number of diverse, independently run small businesses. You can buy fabrics at Sarah’s Fabrics, children’s clothes at Discount Mart, cowboy boots at El Alazan Western Wear, tea sets at JK Mart or have a dress custom made at McDoris Fashion and Fabric and so much more. These businesses, owned and run by our neighbors and friends, play a big part in creating a sense of community in our City. They add to the uniqueness and character that we love in Takoma Park.
And, right now, they need us.
Across the City, our businesses are struggling as they try to stay afloat through the current crisis.
There are also many small businesses and sole practitioners who don’t have a storefront but who provide vital services to our community, including educational consultants, dentists, optometrists, and physicians. And, we cannot forget our vibrant creative community of artists, photographers, designers, dancers, and musicians.
We really pack a lot into 2.4 square miles!
As Councilmember Searcy stated at a recent Council meeting, one of our jobs right now as a City is to come together to make sure our small businesses can weather this crisis. To ensure we can see as many as possible of these businesses re-open and resume their work, we need the assistance of the federal, state, county, and city governments and our community. This is truly going to take all of us.
In particular, many of the businesses in our community face barriers to accessing the relief funds available from the federal and state government. The difficulty of navigating complex applications and the lack of existing relationships with banks and lenders put many of our small businesses at a disadvantage in applying for relief. This makes the funds and staff assistance we can provide at the City level even more vital.
Over the last few weeks, the City has undertaken a multi-layered campaign to support small businesses in Takoma Park.
The “Takoma Together Campaign” highlights three ways that the community can assist businesses during this trying time.
The Takoma Park Together (#TogetherTKPK) Campaign
Working with Laura Barclay of Old Town Business Association, City staff were able to quickly get up and running the Takoma Park Citywide Small Business Mini-Grant Program. We received over 100 applications for grant assistance of up to $3,000. Requests came in from local businesses ranging from home-based businesses to 49-year long-standing businesses across varying industries. At the writing of this blog, we have been able to provide assistance to a third of the businesses. We are counting on our community for additional support.
Donations can be made online:
Support local businesses that are raising money for the mini-grants program.
- No Plan Press has created three unique posters featuring designs promoting the Takoma Park Together campaign. 100% of the profits from the sale of these limited-edition posters will benefit Takoma Park’s Citywide Small Business Mini-Grant Program and the Old Takoma Business Association’s (OTBA) Micro-Grants Program
- Order online at No Plan Press online to purchase an exclusive “Takoma Park Together” poster.
- Coming soon, plants by Indigro Plant Design!
- Buy a Meal from a “Takoma Park To-Go” Restaurant and TAG Your Favorite Takoma Park Together Mural on Social Media (#TogetherTKPK)
- Thanks to a partnership with ChalkRiot, up to 40 small chalk murals and designs will be created on sidewalks and walkways around the City in the next two months to identify our To-Go businesses and brighten the daily walks of our residents. Chalk murals will be created in and around restaurants listed on the “Takoma Park To-Go” website as a demonstration of our ongoing support and commitment to our beloved small businesses.
I want to recognize some of the amazing work of individuals and businesses. This is by no means a complete list of all those who are coming together to help, so please send me more stories!
Small businesses stepping up for community:
- Old Town Business Association continued its micro-grants program to assist businesses in Takoma DC, and in Old Town, and Takoma Junction during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Food donations: Takoma Beverage, Middle Eastern Market, Cielo Rojo, and others.
- Emergency donation of toilet paper to Victory Towers: Girl and the Vine and Takoma Beverage
- Stepping up to assist with social distancing and providing resources: Old Town ACE Hardware, Takoma Park Farmers Market, Crossroads Farmers Market, OTBA, Takoma Park/Silver Spring Co-op, Aldi, and Red Apple Farmers Market
- Rental assistance: Urciolo Properties – rent assistance for businesses in Old Town and Takoma Junction
- Thank you to all who have stepped up to donate to the City’s mini-grant program:
- 26 family and friends online and 142 fundraising posters ordered from – No Plan Press
- Crossroads Development Authority
- Neighborhood Development Company
There is still a lot of uncertainty about when businesses will be able to get back up and running. Our small businesses are a vital part of what makes Takoma Park a great place to live. Let’s make sure they can survive and thrive in the future.