We recently put a post up on our blog with more information about the coronavirus outbreak and how we're responding to it. Like many of you, we're following developments very closely and monitoring news from the King County Department of Health and other sources.
We take the well-being of our staff, students, and customers seriously. We've modified our class sizes and schedules, and we're diligently cleaning and disinfecting common surfaces in the shop many times a day. We want to keep everyone–our staff, customers, and students–as safe and healthy as possible.
Like many of the small businesses you know and love, we're a Third Place. This is an idea that after home (the first place) and work (the second place), people often have a third place where they relax and find solidarity with friends and strangers. These are cafes, pubs, book stores, galleries, gyms, parks, and, yes, art studios: places where we can all relax and be together in a congenial atmosphere.
The Seattle area is home to many large, successful employers, including Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon. They've all made an impact on the city through various booms and busts, but they're not what makes a city. Those businesses may bring people here, but we think that it's the other places–all those cafes, shops, parks, and art studios–that keep the people here. Small businesses breathe life into the city in a way the machinery of big business can never do.
Like many other small businesses, the growing coronavirus crisis has the potential to have a deep impact on us. We are a place where people gather: to learn, to laugh, and to grow in community with a diverse group of folks. When people stop gathering, the many businesses that are like ours start to suffer, and some of them may not recover. The big retailers, software companies, and fitness chains have the resources to do just fine through this crisis. Your favorite noodle shop or yoga studio might not.
As you consider the best ways to protect yourself and your family, please spend a little bit of time also thinking about how we can protect those Third Places that make Seattle such a special place to live.