Discovery Center of Springfield | Nonprofit
The hurdle: Rob Blevins, Executive Director of the Discovery Center of Springfield, began developing contingency plans before COVID-19 reached southwest Missouri. In mid-March, he began conversations with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department (SGCHD) about ways the Discovery Center could cater to the community in the time of a crisis. When local school districts closed, the SGCHD worried about childcare needs, especially for health care workers, and Blevins stepped up to the plate.
The pivot: Blevins shut down the Discovery Center to the public and turned it into a temporary childcare facility for health care workers, doubling his staff, taking down all science exhibits and turning the open space into defined classrooms. He also applied for and earned a temporary childcare license to legally run the facility. The operation is pricy—running at full capacity costs $10,000 a day—but Blevins says he is determined to keep the facility operating. As he says, “my team doesn’t quit.” Others, like the Ozarks Regional YMCA and SPS, are also offering childcare.
Grocery Alternatives and Meal Kits | Food & Beverage
Aviary Cafe, European Cafe, Thai Express, Rib Crib, Springfield Progress
The hurdle: Restaurant owners across the region closed their lobbies as the stay-at-home order took effect. The result was a loss of business that rippled through the region.
The pivot: To combat the loss of revenue, some local restaurants including Aviary Café, RibCrib, Thai Express and European Café began offering grocery services as an additional revenue stream. For example, Aviary has introduced the “Aviary Pantry Box,” a new bulk order that includes five pounds of flour, five pounds of sugar, five pounds of potatoes, two onions, two loaves of bread, two toilet paper rolls, two pounds of butter, one gallon of milk and a dozen eggs.
RibCrib and European Café offer similar items, and Thai Express has discounts for first responders, law enforcement and health care workers. Thai Express is also allowing customers to purchase one bottle of hand sanitizer. These are just four of many area restaurants offering pantry items and household staples.
Other restaurants, like Progress, are offering meal kits and cocktail kits for customers to create at home.