Local business owners talk Mother’s Day preparations and orders amid social distancing

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Jeffrey Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

NaKorn, located at 1622 Orrington Ave., offered a classic Thai brunch for residents on Mother’s Day.

Maria Ximena Aragon, Reporter

In celebration of Mother’s Day, Evanston residents typically find themselves tasked with finding the perfect gift for mom, dinner reservations or the rush to find flowers last-minute. However, in the face of stay-at-home orders and social distancing brought about by COVID-19, Evanston businesses were tasked with finding new ways to keep the celebration going.

Facing the pressure of inventory shortages and orders, FlowersFlowers owner Joanne Leiman said ordering flowers this Mother’s Day looked different from years past.

“We did not know what to expect this year… flowers aren’t quite as available as they normally are,” Leiman said. “So we ordered conservatively, and we are actually at the point where we are no longer taking orders. We’re that busy.”

FlowersFlowers offered curbside pickup and contactless local deliveries. Leiman received about 125 orders in total.

Assembly Creators Market offered curated gift boxes based on four lifestyle options and price points. Owner Reyes Witt said she was able to work with independent designers to create packages styled as classic, glamour, SoHo or casual.

“It’s really hard to shop for Mother’s Day during (the) COVID-19 crisis because everything is clogged, but I’m really lucky because I have a lot of artists that I work with that were able to get me goods immediately,” Witt said.

Seeing the social distancing limitations as an opportunity to try something new, restaurant NaKorn introduced a Thai style brunch with add ons of “MOM-mosas” and bottles of sparkling rosé to cater to the celebration. Co-owner Sam Rattanopas said she was inspired by customers who’ve asked about typical breakfast fare in Thailand.

With COVID-19 affecting sales, Rattanopas said the restaurant has been trying to shake up its menu to retain customers. However, she said it’s been hard expanding customers’ palettes when oftentimes they order with a specific Thai dish in mind.

“We still tried to figure out what to do and what to offer, so that’s why I created a NaKorn experience,” Rattanopas said.

Embracing the challenge of both the occasion and situation, Evanston residents were able to purchase discounted meals from La Cocinita to contribute to the Venezuelan restaurant’s first responder project.

With 2,000 meals donated to local hospitals and fire departments, co-owner Rachel Angulo said the project continues beyond Mother’s Day weekend.

“It was kind of a no-brainer way to contribute and give back to those who are making significant sacrifices, putting their own health and safety on the line to take care of the community,” Angulo said. “We’ve had such a wonderful response from the community, with strangers donating to the cause.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @menitaaragon

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