The Covid-19 Survival Box at the Candy Cupboard. Photo by Jennifer Mckee

Idyllwild has always been a resilient town. Tiny — but mighty — business owners are getting creative to keep a stream of revenue. 

Many have taken advantage of Zoom and other video conferencing apps to hold meetings, classes and discussion groups. 

Mary Morse, of Spirit Mountain Retreat, has been using Zoom to connect with those who need some support during these trying times. 

“Spirit Mountain is temporarily closed because of the pandemic, but we have transitioned some of our gatherings to Zoom meetings and we’re working on adding more of them very soon,” said Morse. “It keeps the connection with our wonderful participants and retreatants going.”

Businesses that focus on one’s daily physical health have also taken to offering virtual classes or moving them outdoors with proper social distancing. 

Feldenkrais and Pilates and Pilates in the Pines are both offering live online classes. 

“The Zoom lessons have helped keep our Pilates community connected and on a ‘normal’ schedule,” said Kathleen Tracy of Pilates in the Pines. “I love the camaraderie that has been taking place during the classes!” 

Idyllwild resident Jeri John has been taking the class three times a week with Tracy, adding, “It helps me keep a routine and some normalcy and is a creative way to socialize.”

Judy Way, left, teaches Pilates. Photo by  Robert Peek

Judith Corrine Way has moved her Pilates class outside on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m.

  “The cold fresh air is good for our lungs and keeps us moving,” Way said.

Many of our local stores have turned to social media and selling items online to keep generating sales. 

“We are posting things daily on Facebook and Instagram,” said Christy Hopkins, owner of Sacred Soul Creations. “Local people can pick up or I can deliver products they have ordered or want.”

Chris Bayer, owner of Black Mountain Coffee Roasters, said they are doing a special priced coffee for locals on their website and delivering orders for free to customers’ homes daily. 

“We are offering online shopping via Facebook buy/sell pages such as Idyllwild Flea Market and Idyllwild Swap and Shop with curbside pickup only and payment by phone with a card through Square,” said Kimberly Ann Smith of Idyllwild’s StopLight 4 Treasures N Rusty Junk.

Manager of Everitt’s Minerals & Gallery Patty Dill has transitioned to posting a majority of jewelry and inventory for sale on its website. 

“We hope to have promotional sales, giveaways, etc. to drive traffic to our online stores as that’s all we can do right now,” said Dill. 

Mountain Pottery has figured a way to keep the ceramics alive and well. Though they are closed to the public, they are supplying members with clay and tools so they can get creative at home. 

“We also made pottery and science to-go kits for our homeschool students,” Co-owner Helen Hixon added. “We’ve launched our online Etsy shop MountainPotteryIdy and are selling gift certificates for pottery classes via email.”

Zara McMullen, owner of Earth ‘N’ Fire, is offering acrylic or ceramic “paint-at-home” kits for customers who still wish to put their artistic talents to work. Earth ‘N’ Fire will still fire the ceramic pieces for customers. There is no studio fee, however, there is a small charge for paints and a refundable deposit for brushes and other materials. 

Jennifer McKee, owner of the Candy Cupboard, is doing her part to keep that sweet tooth satisfied for the whole family by creating some fun candy boxes. 

“We are putting together a gummy bear box,” explained McKee. “It’s two pounds of gummy bears with four flavors for less than $25. The COVID-19 Survival Candy Kit is a box filled with fun, assorted candy for $25! Our littles are important. So, if they can have this memory during all of this crazy, it’s worth it. We will get through this.” 

Even some essential medical care professionals are taking to the virtual world, drastically lowering the possibility of contracting or spreading COVID-19. 

Jodi Sutherland, the Health and Wellness Coach-Lifestyle Educator at Fern Creek Medical Center, is now using telemedicine for virtual visits. 

“I work with patients to improve their health by guiding them through lifestyle changes, reducing the risk of disease by promoting a preventive approach to patient care,” said Sutherland. 

Wax Apothecary has taken precautionary measures since the first week of March and has since closed the storefront altogether and encouraged customers to order online. They started offering no-contact pick-up orders. Customers can shop online and select “pick-up in store.” Customers receive a call when their order is ready and can schedule a pick-up time then. 

“We have a responsibility to our community and our customers to do everything possible to flatten the curve as no person has immunity to this new virus and much of the Idyllwild population falls into the high-risk category,” wrote Diana Orr, co-owner of Wax Apothecary. “We at Wax Apothecary are doing our best to stay informed and to be proactive.

“We wear masks while we work, wash hands between every workstation change and sanitize our workspace daily with 99.1% Isopropyl alcohol spray. We haven’t visited friends or family and have only been keeping in touch through phone/text exchanges. 

“We thought that our business would be diversified enough (via website, wholesale and retail) to survive a local disaster. We ship our products to retailers nationwide and we never thought that we would be hit with a global pandemic, much like everyone else. Our online orders have slowed. Our retailers are also closing their storefronts and not restocking. It has hit us hard, just as it has hit our customers hard.” 

With all the uncertainty, there is still some positivity and many options to help make this Stay-at-Home order more bearable. Whether you want to indulge in some candy, learn how to do Pilates, check in on your spiritual side, do some retail therapy or enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, it’s all available right here in town. Support local businesses, and remember, we are all in this together.