Telling the story of a statewide shutdown through one Spokane city block

SPOKANE, Wash. — While people are staying home and staying healthy, small businesses in Spokane are just trying to stay open.

Many of those businesses are closed or handling their business online only. You can tell the story of this statewide shutdown in just one Spokane city block—Main Avenue.

“I got my heart hurt a little bit just seeing everything so empty,” said Emily Stone, from ‘Do it with Soul‘ clothing.

Main Avenue between Browne and Division is a microcosm of this whole shutdown; Boots Bakery is one of the only businesses on that block still open.

The shop is sending out to-go orders, but their staff of 17 is now just a staff of four—Alison Collins, her husband and their two kids.

“I would say at best we’re eking by, but none of our staff are working right now, which is a real bummer,” Collins said.

Despite the trying times, Collins says they’re not closing anytime soon.

“We’re not quitters, and we also provide food that people can’t get elsewhere,” Collins said.

Just a few doors down, Finders Keepers dress shop should be packed with teenagers picking their prom dresses, or maybe some soon-to-be-brides looking for their perfect dress.

But those dresses are only worn by mannequins today.

“I’m still kind of in shock honestly. We count on prom to get us through the entire year, and we couldn’t even make it halfway through our season,” said Allyssa Heiskell, the owner of Finders’ Keepers.

Right across the street is a vintage clothing shop, also closed, because not even hipsters are too cool for social distancing right now.

“We knew that we were only adding to the problem by keeping our doors open,” said Stone.

Nothing says downtown Spokane like the Party Trolley, built around shopping and drinking local. The warm spring weather usually means you’d see the trolleys cruising down Main Avenue, filled with people and laughter.

“Without people to go to and places to stop, I’m kind of right now on hold,” said Nina Kindem, the owner of the Spokane Party Trolley.

Kindem had to refund all 30 of her customers who were signed up already, but she said something special will be planned when this is all over.

“I just want to help in any way I can, and I think this is going to be one of those vehicles to maybe help do that,” Kindem said.

We can all learn something from these strange times—one block, one community, one country forever changed.

But leave it to the trolley to remind us what makes Spokane home: the people and the love.