As part of our ongoing series concerning how downtown businesses are dealing with COVID-19, see what is happening at Roots and River Yoga.
Roots & River Yoga was established on August 10, 2016, by owner Machelle Lee, and will be celebrating their 4th anniversary this summer. Their mission is to foster class experiences that are physically and psychologically accessible and meaningful to those that take them. They offer a variety of products and services that are geared towards this goal. These include a range of yoga styles, meditation modalities for health and well-being, and selling yoga mats, bolsters, blocks, yoga clothing, and locally handmade jewelry and goods.
Machelle fell in love with Brunswick as a whole. The historic location, the charming architecture, the beautiful Potomac River, and the people themselves, make being here worthwhile. She loves to see the kindness that the people here show to one another and the investment they put into the lives of their neighbors. Being here allows Machelle to see Brunswick unfold and begin to realize its new potential as a community and business center.
Regarding the changes they made to work with the COVID-19 crisis, Machelle said, “We continue to provide classes, but the studio has had to go completely online. Our weekly class offerings are smaller than our normal in-studio schedule, but we are hosting a broad scope of meaningful classes that can be taken LIVE or participants can receive a recording to practice at their own convenience. This is what makes our online studio different from most other studios is that we are providing both LIVE classes and recordings of those classes so people can practice once or several times with a class over the course of a week.”
Typically, they offer weekly classes 7 days a week. These include specialty workshops and professional teacher training on the weekends. They normally do not have specific hours of operation as their schedule depends on the daily schedule of classes and workshops offered that day. However, due to the COVID-19 shutdown they are now offering a range of online classes and they are selling yoga props for home use by appointment.
If you are looking for a way to support them go to their website, www.RootsAndRiverYoga.com and check out the classes they are currently offering or leave them a review on Yelp, Facebook, or Google. Roots & River Yoga can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.
Towpath Creamery was established 2 years ago to offer delicious, high-quality, all-natural, hand-dipped ice cream in downtown Brunswick. In addition to serving high-quality food, they also are dedicated to operating in an environmentally conscientious manner by using compostable to-go ware, hiring a local compost company, conserving water, and minimizing waste. They currently offer 2 different brands of all-natural ice cream – South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County, MD) and Cold Run Creamery (Berk’s County, PA) – as well as sorbet and frozen yogurt from Giffords (Skowhegan, Maine). Each brand includes wonderful flavors that are sure to make your taste buds happy!
Karin Tome, the owner of the creamery, had the desire to open her own small business for several reasons, one of which was understanding what small-business owners have to contend with in terms of government regulations, taxes, etc. She had also noticed that as hikers and cyclists came off the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park towpath, they were often looking for ice cream to enjoy. A final reason was that she had the experience of taking her kids to a local ice cream shop when they were younger (in the 1990’s, where the Hive Bakeshop is currently located); they loved this experience and the memories they created as a family. She wanted to offer this opportunity to folks in the Brunswick and Lovettsville area.
Although she has never experienced running her own business previously, she has enjoyed the adventure. She took the time to research thoroughly before jumping straight into it. This was important because she has always wanted to run a business that is environmentally friendly. They are licensed as a Benefit LLC and they commit to recycling and composting (giving back to the environment) where possible. Karin has also taken many courses to help her to learn more about running a business. These course were provided by the Women’s Business Council, the Maryland Small Business Development Center, and Frederick County.
Karin takes her business very seriously and loves the City of Brunswick. It has always held a special place in her heart. The sense of community that exists among the community inspires her and the volunteer services that people provide around town is heart-warming, to say the least. During the summer, Brunswick acts as a hub of life, bringing in folks from all over the world to hike and cycle on the towpath and visit an authentic railroad boomtown. Karin loves to meet all of those visiting and especially loves it when they can come in and enjoy some ice cream!
Towpath Creamery offers a wide variety of products for purchase. They sell hand-dipped ice cream, soft-serve ice cream (when the machine is up and running!), sundaes, cones, milkshakes, floats, local coffee and honey, as well as snacks and drinks. They are currently open Wednesday/Thursday from 5 pm – 8 pm and Friday – Sunday from 12 pm – 8 pm, but will extend their hours to 7 days when it gets warmer.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, their menu is currently limited. However, they are taking all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. They have hired a couple of new staff members due to the pandemic, and they are working hard to provide quality service to all who visit. They are accepting online orders on their website at towpathcreamery.com and you can call to pick up at 301.969.6480.
COVID-19 Response of Brunswick Sports and Apparel
Brunswick Sports and Apparel officially opened its doors as a sporting goods store 2 years ago. Previously, the building had been predominately a hardware store for 45 years. Abbie Ricketts, the current owner, had moved to Brunswick with her family 47 years ago and it was her father that had established the original business. He had worked in a bank but had always dreamed of owning his own hardware store, and when they moved to town, he was able to make that dream into a reality.
Abbie had grown up in the store and eventually worked there and helped her father. Then, 2 years ago, her father decided it was time to retire. With his retirement came Abbie’s decision that it was time to do something a little different. That was when Abbie changed the hardware store to a sporting goods store. Although not the easiest decision, it allowed for the expansion of their business with additional products and services.
The hardware store already sold many things like sports equipment, fishing gear, and acted as a licensing agent for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Now as Brunswick Sports and Apparel, they offer many more products and services such as: custom embroidery and screen printing, heat press, custom decorative sewing, laser engraving, sports equipment, fishing, tackle, signs and banners, and they are a licensing agent for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Abbie puts her background in art, along with other skills gained through the years, to good use with the products and services currently offered. She loves that Brunswick is right next to the C&O Canal and the Potomac River and it is her mission, and all those that work with her, to serve Brunswick and the surrounding areas by providing high quality custom merchandise and timely service.
During COVID-19 it has been a challenge, but somehow, they are managing to stay in strong spirits. Up until Saturday, April 26th they had been closed, but they are fortunate that they are now able to re-open for the time being. They are currently selling protective face masks which allows them to be open in a limited capacity and those that go inside can shop her other wares and obtain a fishing license. Their current operating hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop in and pick up a Brunswick Railroaders mask, sports equipment and apparel, or a fishing license. Discover what Brunswick Sports and Apparel has for you!
Brunswick Main Street will be bringing you weekly blog posts featuring a different downtown business. Each business will share how they are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Statistics from Main Street America say that over 35% of Main Street businesses will have to permanently close if this crisis continues for 3-5 months. We know you love downtown, so let’s rally to support our downtown businesses throughout this crisis!
Our first blog post will feature a beloved downtown business which has become a true anchor for our downtown area: Beans in the Belfry.
Located in the historic 1910 church on W Potomac Street, Beans in the Belfry brings in people from all walks of life to participate in their many events and enjoy the variety of food they serve. Open seven days a week, they are known for having live music, an afternoon tea service, for the quality customer experience provided, , and for popular foods like their Turkey Panini and Bombay Chicken Salad. The eclectic atmosphere reminds guests of home with comfy couches, a children’s corner, board games, and even free wi-fi for folks to use.
The owners of Beans in the Belfry, Melanie DiPasquale and her parents Jim and Hanna Politis, love the opportunity to know, serve, and work with the people in the community. Hanna says that “Melanie’s vision was and still is to enhance downtown Brunswick with a place where people and families with kids can get together, drink coffee, socialize, get to know each other. Since she is a fan of historic preservation, she picked the boarded-up church on 122 West Potomac Street to be that place. Always 100% committed, she and family members bought that church in 2003 and after 14 months of hard work and considerable investment she turned it into an eclectic, comfortable and inviting Third Place for locals to hang out, and it soon became a destination for people in the tri-state area to visit and enjoy coffee, food, and since 2012 also beer and wine. A coffee house is not complete without live music and right from the beginning we were approached by musicians to perform. It became a win-win situation where all weekend long our stage resounds with performers of Irish, Celtic and roots music, blues, old time, bluegrass, and amazing jazz groups.”
Hanna continued to say “Our products and services evolved by listening to our customers. So, we soon added paninis, soups, chili, salads, cakes and other baked goods to our coffee, espresso and tea service. We want ingredients to be high quality and insist on freshness. Therefore, as much as possible we choose locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients. As our food service increased, so did our opportunity to hire local staff, and we pride ourselves to have filled positions with baristas whom we trained while they were still attending or had just graduated from the local high school, as well as staff from the local community with experience in food service. “
Hanna describes the impact of COVID-19, “With COVID-19, of course, the unthinkable happened when the Governor of Maryland imposed restrictions on table service in restaurants. Since March 17 we have adapted to offering curbside service and had to reduce our staff to fewer hours. It’s been a blow to us since our strength lies in the experience of our eclectic ambiance in the room. We are using the down time for repair and maintenance of the century old building. We are ever so grateful to friends and supporters who place coffee and food orders and get gift cards to pay it forward. We look forward to having the restrictions lifted and resuming normal service. We really miss seeing the many friendly faces and engaging with people who make our running our business so rewarding.”
Beans in the Belfry has been serving our community for 16 years. Established in 2004, this family-owned business strives to bring good quality food to all those who walk through their doors. Each family member brings their strengths and prior knowledge to the business while at the same time they are each constantly learning new skills so that they can serve others to the best of their ability. Everyone at Beans in the Belfry wants you to know that they are here to serve the community alongside the other businesses located in our beloved downtown Brunswick. All establishments are counting on the support of the community at this time of need.
They are open 363 days of the year. Currently the hours are: Sunday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Support Beans in the Belfry by giving them a call at 301.834.7178 and placing an order TODAY! You can also leave them a review on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, or Facebook. Beans in the Belfry can also be found on several social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The eclectic yet warm atmosphere in this historic building is welcoming and allows others to feel at home without having to be at home. Can’t wait until we can all gather there again for a great cup of coffee!
With mention of Brunswick Main Street, get a free coffee with your meal at Beans in the Belfry!