The video begins with low-budget magic: Gina Campbell opens the doors to her store, snaps her fingers and the lights in 1889 Salvage Co. turn on, cuing upbeat music reminiscent of The Isley Brothers hit “It’s Your Thing,” and the dance party commences.
Vendor Jamie Flanery enters the scene in a plaid bathrobe, wielding a coffee mug. Flanery sees the action, throws off his robe to reveal a navy sweater with elbow patches, and begins his dance. Dave Johnson, another vendor, brings his dachshund, Dagmar, in for a close-up while dancing. Kari Johnson dances with a book in hand under a sign that reads “See Inside TO APPRECIATE.”
Campbell, 1889 owner, said vendor Kari Johnson– who co-owns Johnson Manor Mercantile with Dave – directed and edited the video right before COVID-19 hit. Once it was clear that the coronavirus had made its way to Spokane, they decided it would be tone deaf to post it on social media. The video now seems almost prescient to Campbell. Before the pandemic, who would have thought watching someone open a store could pack such a walloping emotional punch?
Johnson points out that, because of how it was filmed, everyone in the video was social distancing way before it was cool. The end result is a goofy video that gets to the heartbeat of this specific time in our history.
Despite this quirky video, Campbell had not been comfortable in front of a camera, but once the shop closed its doors, she quickly got over that. Even though she was still able to fulfill online orders, business dropped about 98%. Campbell got busy making DIY videos, and publishing them to social media to give her customers ideas for projects during the stay-home order.
“I did a fun segment on what do you do with your empty liquor bottles, which is kind of funny because everybody talks about how much they drank and ate during the pandemic,” Campbell said.
When Spokane moved into Phase 2, 1889 reopened. The night before, Campbell felt like an eighth-grader on the eve of her birthday party.
“Is anybody going to show up?” Campbell said. “And they did, so yay! I felt like, ‘Oh, they like me!’ But you know, there was that moment like, ‘Are they coming back? Are they going to leave their house?’ ”
Memorial Day weekend was great for business, but Campbell still worries for the future. She did a lot to make sure her business was safe for shopping, such as hand sanitizing stations, employees wearing masks and rearranging her store to make sure customers had enough room to keep distance. Campbell thinks businesses on Monroe were uniquely prepared for a situation like this.
“It kind of brought back memories from the construction period we went through, except for this is completely different because we literally had to shut our doors,” Campbell said. “There’s a certain grit that comes with having gone through something like construction, because we did ask ourselves, ‘If no one walked in the door, how are we going to stay in business?’ ”
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