One could argue that people NEED a set of FingerHands, but apparently Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot disagrees. So, beginning in March 2020, as non-essential retail, we were able to have an employee in our stores but not allowed to let the public inside. Gratefully, a majority of our customers were making the best of it by shopping online and scheduling curbside pickups.
All three of our local aldermen (Matt Martin, Harry Osterman, and Andre Vasquez) and Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce were tireless advocates, coming up with new ways to promote businesses, offering gift packages and providing support to navigate the never-ending grant and loan applications for funding and the changing regulations: PPP, PPE... WTF!
June 2020 marked the beginning of Phase 3 and the lifting of the Chicago non-essential retail store closure order. We cautiously re-opened our stores with a reduced staff and a way for shoppers to stop in and grab a quick gift. Our stores have 1000’s of items, all lined up, for browsing. So while a customer might not know exactly what they need, we hope to have something they’ll want.
We continued to encourage curbside pickups, as our managers shifted from Website Product Data Entry to couriers!
All of the items for sale on Urbangeneralstore.com are pulled from inventory at one of three locations: ENJOY Andersonville, ENJOY Lincoln Square and our headquarters on North Lincoln Avenue. Every morning, the managers would get a list of items that had sold the day before. They would transfer an Indigo GurglePot from ENJOY Andersonville to be picked up that day at ENJOY Lincoln Square. They would bring bars of Money Soap to ENJOY Andersonville for curbside pickup at Urban General Store headquarters … and so on.
Each location would then notify customers when all the orders were assembled or they would be packed and shipped out of our warehouse location.
Between the coordination of our owner, Becca, our warehouse supervisor, Annika, and our store management team of Dena, Lizzy and Stacey, we survived! Stephanie ran the website from her home office and Heather kept the books (and made her MaggiePops Masks). Roxy provided in-store service. Kathleen covered curbside pickups in-store while employees took lunch breaks. Tom and Karen (Becca’s parents) provided their annual seasonal help (and cheerleading) during their Chicago Christmas visit from Cape Cod.
Somehow, we made it work!
Becca’s oldest son, Benjamin, began e-learning (and on the job training) at our warehouse. He was promoted to Puzzle Room Coordinator In-Training. We hope to keep him on until he learns that the word isn’t FUNK but actually spells F-U-C-K. Then, we are in trouble!
One year ago, June 2020, marked the beginning of Phase 3 and the lifting of the Chicago non-essential retail store closure order. We cautiously re-opened our stores with a reduced staff and a way for shoppers to stop in and grab a quick gift.
A year ago seemed like the darkest time and the realization of a worst case scenario coming true. And, in many ways, it was. But, like everything in life… you learn how to adapt because the other choice is less desirable.
We mourn what we have lost (lives, jobs, businesses, freedom from worry) and we remain vigilant in keeping those around us safe. We are grateful to all our customers, friends and family (and friends and family who are customers) for being there for us as we have pivoted (as we are sure you have, too).
We are so thankful to you for supporting our small business. We are so grateful for you sticking with us. We appreciate your continued patience and ongoing understanding. Thank you for waiting in line, picking up curbside and shopping online.
As Friday, June 11, 2021, marks Chicago entering Phase 5, we will continue to require our customers to wear masks in the store to protect the vulnerable members of our community who cannot get vaccinated. But our capacity restrictions will be lifted.
If you would still like to engage in socially distanced shopping, we will continue to encourage customers to shop online at Urbangeneralstore.com from the comfort of home, and pick up orders for FREE at either of our locations, ENJOY Andersonville or ENJOY Lincoln Square. Most orders are available next day. And all of our products that are available in-store are now shoppable online.
At the beginning of the pandemic, artist Matthew Hoffman, creator of the You Are Beautiful Sticker, sent a message to all of his followers and retailers with an inspirational image… we're all in this together. We shared it then and we share it again. We are glad to be in it with you.
With love (and gratitude) from Chicago…
All of us at ENJOY, AN URBAN GENERAL STORE and Urbangeneralstore.com.
Read previous entries: