Downtown News

#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

Clementine: It Takes Special People to Run an Unforgettable Restaurant

May 7, 2020 by Guest

By Kaitlin Valenti — Any successful business has successful people standing behind it. Ask Matthew Clancey, executive chef and general manager of Clementine. Clancey takes deep pride in the restaurant’s employees and believes that the staff, a strong menu selection, interesting drinks, live music and a great atmosphere make Clementine unique and set it apart from other restaurants in Harrisonburg. And he should know. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Carl Goetz

May 1, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Let me introduce you to your friend, Carl. You might not know him yet, but he’s your friend. He frequently announces his motto to anyone within earshot: “You have no idea how much I love you.” And he means it. He loves everyone, no exceptions. People as loving as he are few and far between. So I’m really happy, and honored, to tell you more about this long-time Friendly City resident, confirmed extrovert, river junkie, cyclist, art enthusiast, music dabbler, supporter of all things local, and devoted friend, Carl Goetz. more

Mother’s Day (From a Distance!) in Downtown Harrisonburg

April 24, 2020 by Jeslyn Stiles

Don't let the pandemic put a damper on your Mother's Day plans! Downtown Harrisonburg is here for you and ready to safely supply gifts, flowers, and dinner for the special mothers in your life. more

Friendly Faces (and Covers) of the Friendly City: Las Traumadas

April 15, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos Courtesy of Maressa Cortes: Y’all. What a long, strange few weeks we’ve had. I went from a life of being surrounded by noisy, spirited middle schoolers and taxi-ing kids to soccer practice to a life where walking to the mailbox constitutes “going out.” Where just the thought of going to the grocery store induces fear. Where I worry my face will freeze in an unattractive expression during a Zoom meeting with my colleagues.  more

Catching the Curve: Community Support in the Time of COVID-19

April 8, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell — As you’re well aware, downtown Harrisonburg’s response to the COVID-19 has been swift, thorough, and multifaceted. People of all backgrounds and businesses of all kinds are putting their heads and hearts together to innovate ways to keep local businesses afloat and Harrisonburg residents healthy and supported. As one business after another announced changes to their regular hours, curbside service, or closures, HDR threw together a directory to organize all that information. Businesses have begun offering their space for COVID-related  community needs, and ordinary people have organized grassroots initiatives to promote local business and advocate for residents who are struggling to make ends meet. During a time when we are physically isolated from one another, the heartache of this collective struggle vibrates in a way that brings us closer together. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Luke Watson

April 2, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos by Philip Meador: Like other subjects of this series, I’ve “known” Luke Watson for years. He is the man running around Clementine doing everything, the guy who waves a friendly hello when I see him at local concerts, the dude who owns that dumpling truck. And although we occupy the same space fairly frequently, I couldn’t really tell you who Luke is. Now I feel a bit more informed.  more