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Downtown News

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

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Cy Khochareun

March 25, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos by Philip Meador: If you’re a regular downtown, you’ve likely been to Beyond Restaurant Pho and Sushi by now, located in the space once occupied by Spanky’s, sharing West Water Street with other inspired restaurants like Bella Luna, Cuban Burger, Sabor a Mexico, and the Harrisonburg classic, Finnegan’s Cove. But before Beyond, there was Taste of Thai, located on South High Street. And what came before Taste of Thai is a long and moving story of a family from Laos.  more

Pale Fire Brewing Company Launches “Pale Fire Helps” Food Bank Resource to Support Restaurant Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 24, 2020 by Jeslyn Stiles

March 24, 2020 -- Harrisonburg, VA -- Pale Fire Brewing Company is teaming up with Sysco, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, and Digital Minerva for “Pale Fire Helps,” a food bank resource to support restaurant workers during the COVID-19 crisis. more

Regional COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce Formed

March 19, 2020 by Andrea Dono

March 19, 2020 [Harrisonburg, VA] -- Regional agencies and organizations have teamed up to coordinate support and resources for businesses in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham area. The Regional COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce started meeting weekly to brainstorm ideas, curate resources, share information, and unify their efforts as they address business and employer concerns. more