Small businesses in Slippery Rock, such as Simplified Meals by Ginger and nonprofits such as Our Angel’s Attic, are still active in helping the community.
Simplified Meals by Ginger adjusted their hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for take out, curbside pickup and expanded delivery, encouraging members of the community to call ahead.
Ginger Jones, the owner and chef, said that all meals are $6.25 and include gluten free items.
“It allows elderly to have home cooked meals at an affordable price that they are able to eat,” Jones said.
Along with the elderly in the community, Jones said that there are college students who are still around, offering Simplified Meals by Ginger as a place for them to eat.
Jones said that she reduced the staff to only family members at the moment, not sure what business would be like.
“The best thing that I have seen with this community is how supportive they are of the businesses,” Jones said. “We feel like we have a good loyal following.”
Jones said that extra precautions are being taken at the store because safety hits home for her. Jones has a son with two autoimmune diseases and said that although she may not be a high risk, bringing the disease home to him is a serious issue.
“It may not effect you, but there are a lot of people that it can effect,” Jones said.
However, Jones said that the community has come together and are respectful of others decisions to remain in-doors or keep their business open.
For smaller businesses that could not stay open or are struggling at the time, Jones suggested ordering gift cards online or searching to see if the business has an online store to help support them.
Simplified Meals by Ginger not only offers fresh pre-made meals, but also serves as a local drop-off space for the Feed My Sheep food pantry.
Jones said that generosity towards the food pantry has been amazing.
“The biggest thing is how good the community is, and how they have been in helping local businesses in a time of crisis when you have a good community like we do here,” Jones said.
Similarly feeling the help from the Slippery Rock community is nonprofit Our Angel’s Attic. Patti Bicehouse opened the clothing boutique out of a passion for working in the field of vocational rehabilitation, and has always wanted to have her own business.
Bicehouse said that the boutique is the “hub of the wheel” and takes donations anytime the store is open. Our Angel’s Attic is a self-sustainable non-profit, leaving nothing to waste.
Although the boutique is currently not working with students and community members in person, they partner with eight different school districts and community programs to set up crews of individuals who have disabilities. These individuals come in with a mentor, usually a Slippery Rock student entering the field.
“I work and my volunteers work with [the student and the mentor] to help them learn both soft and hard skill sets depending on their need,” Bicehouse said.
Our Angel’s Attic also partners with the music therapy department on campus, where students, free of charge, will teach people to play an instrument. Alongside working with departments on campus, Our Angel’s Attic also plans to bring in a local artisan who owns their own business who will do craft and painting classes for anybody in the community.
Bicehouse said that Our Angel’s Attic also partners with organizations outside of the community, such as Pitt and their literacy and drama department.
Our Angel’s Attic hosts a book club, and after the book is finished, Prime Stage Theater puts the book into a play that brings literature to life, tapping into learning senses such as experience.
“We are now becoming known,” Bicehouse said. “The community sees what we are doing.”
However, Our Angel’s Attic is a nonprofit, and Bicehouse said that it was difficult to get everything opened.
Bicehouse said that she struggles day by day with nonprofit financials without the ability to make a sale.
“I have been reaching out by word of mouth,” Bicehouse said. “They know that we are struggling right now, they know a nonprofit is funded by however they can get the money.”
Bicehouse said that she was overwhelmed at the response of the community.
“It kind of got out that I may have to close, and people started a GoFundMe page for the store,” Bicehouse said. “A wonderful small entrepreneur female reached out to me and she is doing a 12-day fundraiser for us as well.”
Bicehouse said that she called the store Our Angel’s Attic because she wanted the community to think that it was theirs and not just hers.
“No matter what happens, someone has your back somewhere,” Bicehouse said.
The community and the safe feeling of it is one thing that Bicehouse appreciates about Slippery Rock.
“Everyone tells me when you walk in the store you get a feeling of joy,” Bicehouse said. “We have a bell at the door with a set of angel wings and when you leave, you get to ring that bell because you earned your wings by coming in and supporting.”
Although nonprofits in the community may be struggling, Bicehouse said that she feels the community supporting her.
“I cannot tell you how many times people have thanked us for opening the store,” Bicehouse said.
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Editor’s note: Hannah Shumsky, editor-in-chief of The Rocket, is employed by an on-campus program that supports high school students with disabilities and sends some students to Our Angel’s Attic for work experiences. Shumsky did not contribute to reporting or prior review for this article.