LEADING BY EXAMPLE — Sebastopol Hardware owners Doug Bishop and Dan Allingham are treating their employees to lunch at a different Sebastopol restaurant every day, and they're challenging other business owners who are doing well in the current environment to do the same.

Not all businesses are suffering during shelter in place. Some, like grocery, gardening and hardware stores, are doing land-office business. Now one of those businesses, Sebastopol Hardware, is reaching out to one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy — local restaurants.

Sebastopol Hardware owner Doug Bishop announced last week that he’d be buying lunch for all his employees at a different restaurant in town every day.

“Our business is doing well,” he said. “We’re actually up because everyone is doing gardening and projects around the house. But we’re looking around and seeing other businesses that are not, like the restaurants. So we’re going out and buying lunch every day at a local restaurant for our employees, trying to generate business for the restaurants.”

Since restaurants are only open for curbside pickup, Bishop said he either gets the food delivered to Sebastopol Hardware or sends someone to go and pick it up.

Then he decided to up the ante.

“I know other businesses that are also doing well so we’re trying to encourage other business owners that were in a position to do something to do the same thing for their employees so Sebastopol will benefit,” he said. “They’re helping their own employees by providing a meal, and it also helps the restaurants. We got a lot of commitments from other businesses that they’ll be doing the same or at least something like it.”

Bishop gave a shout out on Facebook to other local businesses who took him up on his challenge. The list included The Feed Store, Balleto Vineyards, Solar Works, DiFranco Fence, Sanborn Tree Service, Whole Foods, Weeks Drilling and Pump and Andy’s Produce.

Bishop got such an overwhelming response to his announcement — and so many people asked how they could help — that he started a related program for individuals.

“So now if anybody goes to a restaurant and brings in their receipt they get a 10% discount at Sebastopol Hardware,” he said.

“It’s gaining a lot of traction,” Bishop said. “It’s something that people can do to help their favorite restaurants until they’re able to open again. And that’s what’s really needed: to get these businesses back open.”

(1) comment

Mary Rusty Gate Farm

Thank you for sharing the good that is happening locally! Individuals and businesses who think about what they can do to share what they have, rather than focus on what we don't have during this time are making all the difference. These times call for creative problem solving. Thanks Sonoma West and Sebastopol Hardware.

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