I had a post for this week all written and in file for publication. Then, last week, I asked Leigh to add an advisory to it about our updated hours. Now, I have written a completely new post. All this is to say that things have been changing very quickly, and we are doing our very best to navigate it. Please read on for our thoughts on managing the coronavirus:
As many of you know, last Saturday we eliminated our walk-in hours in order to control crowding in our little shop. We did this so that we could ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing of our meeting spaces, rings, and registers after each and every client. Tim and I feel very strongly that this pandemic needs to be taken seriously by everyone and that it is our responsibility to protect our employees and clients from catching or spreading this virus. While we very easily could have just bullied forward with things, we are concerned about the health of our neighbors, clients, our families, and our employees, all of whom overlap with the at-risk groups in various ways.
This week, we are working with the singular goal of getting as many projects out our door as possible before we, realistically, need to close our doors to wait out this pandemic. We are shipping completed projects and offering private appointments to those who can stop by. We have canceled in-person appointments for new consultations this week while we work to get our shop tied up. All this, while we have our 3.5 year old on hand because, of course, school was cancelled!
Then, we will plan to essentially hunker down throughout the duration of whatever is to come. Tim and I will continue to do design work for the many pending projects we have in line so if you’re in the queue, expect to see some designs. We will have our team working on our house line of bangles from their at-home work benches. Because we will not send client work outside of our workshop, all repairs and restorations will take a pause.
We have committed to our employees that we will continue to pay them even while we are not open for business. We are proud that we can confidently offer this, it is truly a reflection of the hard work we put into this business over the last few years. But, the fact is, this wouldn’t be possible without the mutual hard work of our staff and we feel we owe it to them to fulfill this commitment. We are confident that we will re-open our doors after this all has passed but we know that, sadly, many businesses will not. The math is just too simple.
I will be honest that as I am writing this, I am feeling disappointed and frustrated as how this has been playing out thus far. I am thrilled to see such an amazing outpouring of support for the small business community here in Alexandria during this time, but we truly do need to take this virus seriously as a community and stay home. The decision to close is so much harder when others are staying open, and the decision to close is impossible if you know doing so could mean ending your revenue stream and, therefore, your business as a whole. I know that each and every shop owner is balancing these same elements and I do not envy any of them their decision. My sincere hope is that if we all close our doors, stay home, and keep this curve flat, then we will be able to resume some type of working hours again in our workshop in the next few weeks. I think it will be a long time before we are entirely back to normal, but eventually we can get projects moving through our workshop again, eventually we can start up private appointments again, and eventually we will have working vendors again (because, of course, our vendors across the country are also shutting down right now).
Of course, you’ll continue hearing from me each week as I continue posting about the amazing things we do here at Alx&Co. Now that I have done my doom-and-gloom post, I’ll get back to the fun things. But, please: we’re all in this together, let’s get through it as quickly and thoughtfully as possible. Love to you all.
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.