By Carla Bumstead
Keisha Howe owns and operates Reflections Boutique, a women’s fashion shop, in downtown Charlotte. The shop had only been open about a month before COVID-19 arrived and threatened to shut things down. But instead of backing off, Howe stepped up, seeking a way to contribute to the community and promote Charlotte’s small business community.
“I wanted to do something to support other local small businesses while helping others during this difficult time,” Howe said.
So she decided to reach out to local businesses that might be interested in doing something to help kids that were now out of school and perhaps missing school meals. Each week, beginning the week of March 16, Howe and another Charlotte business have partnered to provide free lunches/ snacks for any child requesting one.
The first week, she and the Eaton Theatre partnered to offer free snack packs. The next week, she got together with the Charlotte Dairy Queen. This past week, she worked with Sidestreets Deli. Howe has contributed funds and snacks for the meals, in addition to helping pack lunches and even deliver a few. The free meals are picked up at each of the partnering businesses on specific days.
“I thought it was really important for us small businesses to support each other and help the community as a whole,” Howe said. “I have been blessed by this community’s support, and being able to do something like this is a win for everyone.”
She said she hopes to continue to be able to keep organizing the partnerships in the weeks to come.
As the shop is not considered an “essential business,” Reflections Boutique closed on March 24. But Howe has been able to continue to do some business by holding “live” Facebook sales each Sunday.
“We realized that Sunday would be the most convenient, and it has allowed our customers to shop from the comfort of their own homes,” she said. “We just got in some new inventory to share, so we are excited about continuing to do these events.”
Reflections Boutique is also offering a chance for customers to do some virtual one-on-one shopping via Facetime or Skype, with appointments taken in advance.
More information about the weekly meal partnerships and the shop sales can be found on the Reflections Boutique Facebook page. Howe can be contacted directly through Facebook messenger.
Keisha Howe is shown with Evan, Ella and Emma Colosky as part of her recent partnership with Eaton Theatre.