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Downtown News

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Mary Yoder at Dart Resale and Trade

April 26, 2021 by Guest

Even during the pandemic, the friendly city of Harrisonburg has seen several stores open and flourish, one of which being Mary Yoder’s Dart Resale and Trade store located on South Liberty Street. Downtown, one can find a few secondhand clothing stores, but Dart is the first to really take off with the buy-sell-trade system Yoder utilizes.  more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: The Perch at Magpie

March 24, 2021 by Guest

The Perch, formerly known as “The Hub,” is a co-working space above Magpie Diner where entrepreneurs and organizations come together to spark new ideas and concepts. An entrepreneur herself, Kirsten Moore, founder and owner of The Perch, is a Harrisonburg native who’s always had knowledge of what can best serve a community. She began The Hub about five years ago, after seeing how similar spaces were working in Richmond, Virginia.  more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Rama and John Shrestha of Indian & American Cafe

November 17, 2020 by Kathleen Shaw

By Kathleen Shaw / Header photo courtesy of Kathleen Shaw — While studying in Nepal, a young Rameshwari “Rama” Shrestha first heard whispers about Shyam “John” Shrestha through her teacher, his cousin. In quick time, their parents met and discussed a potential union. Before ever meeting, the two were bound for marriage in the country’s capital of Kathmandu and wed after a handful of phone conversations. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: The Merge Coffee Company Team

July 15, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Some friends get together to drink a beer on the porch, go fishing in a nearby pond, play wiffle ball in the backyard, or grab a bite to eat — and some friends get together with 50 pounds of green coffee beans they’ve collectively purchased and try their hand at roasting coffee one pound at a time, because why not? This kind of ingenuity seems to be a hallmark of this town. So many fantastic ideas hatched at dusk in someone’s backyard while fireflies flash and kids with training wheels roll down the sidewalk. This was the case for cousins Darryl and Charles Matthews and their coworkers Emily and Larisa Martin, who now own Merge Coffee Company, on a typical Sunday night. After several weekly attempts at roasting, they refined their skills enough that their acquaintances were requesting bags of coffee for their own consumption. And for a year, these four friends sold their coffee online, roasting a small batch every Sunday in their garage and shipping orders every Monday. more

#GiveSsam! Giving Back in the Time of COVID With Mashita

May 27, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Some people are built for endurance. They are strong and efficient; their minds are sharp and focused, not easily distracted. They can maintain a steady pace for the long haul and put one foot in front of the other despite hills, valleys, blisters, muscle cramps, and thirst.  more

Creating Community Through Coffee: Chance Ebersold and Black Sheep Coffee

May 22, 2020 by Guest

By Allison Geringer — Wiping a bead of sweat from his brow, Chance Ebersold finishes building his 10th table for Black Sheep Coffee shop. Using reclaimed wood from the furniture at his wedding reception, Ebersold builds his tables on a foundation of love. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Ms. Melanie Veith

May 20, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

This is Ms. Melanie, a Museum Educator at Explore More Discovery Museum, rubbing a balloon onto some unsuspecting victim’s head. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Lori Mier

May 13, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

As I write this, it’s been 6 weeks since our local school divisions closed for the year and more than a month since Governor Northam issued executive order 55, extending the stay-at-home order to June 10. Although just yesterday the governor announced a phased reopening to begin mid-May, it’s hard to feel completely comfortable about it. In that short time, people have already experienced economic hardship and stress, an inability to keep up with rent payments, food insecurity, illness, and lack of child care, not to mention the myriad unforeseen ways the pandemic has wreaked havoc on how we collectively and individually move through each confusing day. In that same short time, ordinary people have recognized cracks in the system and swiflty and creatively pivoted to weave some sort of safety net. Our school cafeteria employees are cranking out thousands of meals each week, distributed drive-thru style by teachers to hungry families. Teachers and school administrators have spent hours figuring out how to deliver instruction safely and equitably through online platforms and paper packets. Local businesses, like the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market, have altered the way they offer their services or temporarily reinvented themselves to meet these new challenges with no real pre-existing model of how to do that (like Pale Fire Helps and Magpie Diner). And folks watching this all unfold in very scary ways have simply felt a call to help in some manner and created new channels for accessing desperately needed resources. For Lori Mier, it started with a simple offer of child care. more