Friday, May 29, 2020

All of the Cookies

[We receive a lot of praise and positive feedback about our products and customer service. This may be the most thoughtful and kind love letter we've ever received. Republished here with the author's permission. - Ari]

by Elliot Inman   

May 24, 2020:  74 Days since the WHO Declaration of the Global Covid-19 Pandemic

Back in the 1990s when downtown Durham was a hollow shell of empty tobacco warehouses waiting to become something new, you could walk down the one-way streets and pass one abandoned building after the next.  There were a couple of bars and the occasional temporary storefront church that consisted of little more than a Sunday service sign and some folding chairs.  But there was almost nothing open during the day except Ninth Street Bakery.

Ninth Street Bakery was there at the tip of an isosceles triangle where two one-way streets met, its parking lot hidden behind an old brick wall.  You could walk around the wall, into the parking lot, and up the stairs to the bakery.  I don’t know how I knew it was there or how I knew you could just walk inside, but it seemed as if it had always been there.  

Not on Ninth Street, of course.  That was part of the mystery.  Not on Ninth Street at all, but there.

We did the social distancing thing, and the masks, and the infection rate went down, or flattened somewhat, but we never made the community-wide investment in testing and tracing like Asian countries did to bring infections down to near zero. Because the pathogen is so easily communicable, without going that final mile, Covid is sure to hang around for months, or years until we devise a public health plan to sweep it out entirely. Our community health, and our economy hangs in the balance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

From Dave Wofford, Horse and Buggy Press

Dear Durham City Council, Durham County Board of Commissioners, Chamber of Commerce, OEWD, DDI, and Discover Durham folks.
**Long note here. Please print out, read, and consider.**
Preface: I am a small business owner who runs a design/publishing/arts company (Horse & Buggy Press and Friends) which includes two galleries, including PS 118 which I opened on Parrish Street in December. I am a micro-sized business in my 24th year of operation, based in Durham since 2003. I have two part-time employees and before the virus hit the plan was to move them closer to full time as we work to support the 40 plus local artists and craftspersons with work in our galleries, and dozens of writers whose work we design and publish.
Because I have a wide range of work I do, including commissioned design work not based on retail traffic, I’m not losing as much money as other retail/entertainment based businesses are currently. So I would not be applying or requesting grants that I mention below at this time. I was fortunate to receive a $1K organization grant from Durham Arts Council, a $500 grant from the North Start Relief Fund, and through Self Help I got a modest PPP loan. Those things are helping me enough at this point to limp through the summer which will be slow and I’m certain to lose money. I’m banking on things picking up in the fall (hopefully). But those kind of small things aren’t going to help larger independent retail or service businesses that are based on personal physical proximity and people density, and have higher rents, risks, and employee payroll.

Monday, May 11, 2020


The Pork Bun Manifesto

Dave Chang and Eddie Huang:

When the cooks are taking hold of conversations of inequity, you know it’s real.

Also, see Andrew Ullom's instagram. He too has been going buck over the myriad contradictions and failures of the U.S. reaction to Covid. Where are all the singer-songwriters now, where are all the protest songs and songs of hope?