My Pandemic Year in Review and The Small Businesses That Got Me Through It.

All activities mentioned in the following article followed Covid-19 protocols and guidelines specific to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The 10th Year Seniors team is dedicated to #SlowingTheSpread242

I’m back. Kind of. If you read my work you know that I often take a bit of a hiatus in between anarchic articles. However, I’ve been drawn out of my cave of hibernation because I feel compelled to talk about last year.

It’s no secret that 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, but with me going through my own personal tragedies, it often felt like a bit of an isolated incident. Between navigating a post-hurricane Dorian Grand Bahama, to an injury that kept me off of my job for the entire year, and then the passing of my grandmother, I felt like I was being tortured in a vacuum. With all of this happening to the symphony of a Pandemic I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been slightly overwhelmed.

Having said that, in the midst of all of this cataclysmic tragedy, my mother turned 60. During a year where the absolute worst has come to life and nightmares became a reality, the opportunity to create a memory that wasn’t marred by devastation was presented. In a small group of some of our closest friends and family, she celebrated 6 decades of sarcastic wit, selfless sacrifice and absolute love. Watching as the candles dimmed on her cake and looking around at the amazing waitstaff that helped create an intimate memory in the midst of such a troubling time allowed me to reflect on the past year with clearer vision. 

Small business saved my life last year, and that’s not an exaggeration. 

When you live on an island as small as Grand Bahama, you understand the importance of local business. The importance of paying full price for services and recommending those services to friends and family. The phrase that people have used throughout this entire Pandemic has been very wildcat themed in, “we’re all in this together!”. However, the overused analogy, “we’re in the same storm but not the same boat,” is the one that I’ve been clinging to the most. I realized the small privilege that I had: being able to support small businesses in my own way last year. And that’s what I did. Indulging in the ability to be able to afford these services allowed me to take a deep dive into my own self-care. Care that was sorely being neglected. 

Looking  at the room that once housed my grandmother, I can’t help but think of the time and effort that was put into caring for her. Chaunte Thompson and her delivery service ‘Personal Assistant 2 Go’ played a huge role in that care. Battling the lines of various grocery stores and pharmacies during the height of the pandemic, Chaunte went above and beyond to ensure that my home was fully stocked during a time when people shopped like it was the apocalypse. Her attention to detail has made her service a staple in my house. 

It’s not a secret. The person I am closest to on this entire planet is my mother. When faced with the oncoming date of her birthday I didn’t actually think twice about if we would be celebrating it, I just honestly wasn’t sure how. Sitting at a table in Rum Runners messily eating lemon pepper tequila wings while pouring out my heart and soul to one of The Bahama’s best event planners was probably the best way to start. Davina Rutherford of Minding Your Business Event Management Company has probably planned some of the country’s most exquisite events and I wasn’t sure if she would take me on as a client. When I approached her with the possibility of organizing an intimate Downton Abbey themed dinner in my backyard, she didn’t shy away from the challenge.

In a time where large gatherings are neither responsible nor possible, Davina’s line of work has been made even more complicated and has forced her and those like her to become more creative in the ways in which they operate. Utilizing technology in order to pivot to virtual guests for events and finding ways to keep those digital guests entertained has become a norm. A norm she has bravely embraced. Another one of those norms has been utilizing outdoor spaces in order to comply with Covid-19 Protocols. 

Davina took the expanse of my backyard and turned it into the most formal of dining room settings. An open air gathering with the intimacy of a private parlour. Draped in pearls, pink silk, white chiffon and gold embellishments. Her and her amazing team ensured that my mother’s birthday was one she would never forget. 

When we talk about impacted businesses throughout the Pandemic, we fail to talk about the women and men working in cosmetic fields. It’s true, many of these services are luxury services, but they offer much-needed escape. Creating their own forms of therapy for the clients in their charge. There are also people behind these services who have dedicated their lives to these spaces and who deserve to remain in business.   

Any time it was safe to do so, people like my nail tech Cookie and my hairstylist Clinique did everything in their power to ensure that I never looked how I felt. With 10 and 8 years respectively in their various disciplines both women have mastered the art of their profession. Cookie tends to ask me the mood I’m in before she begins her work. Her mind moving quickly in order to create a perfectly curated design on nails I’d otherwise bite if not for the acrylic extensions.  

Clinique and her chair offer a quiet escape. As one of the most talented hair stylists on the island, she moves quickly and quietly, her silence is one of warmth and never cold disregard. 

While preparing for this dinner I wanted to find someone that would make my mom and I feel truly beautiful and in that search I found Sherone Brown of Beauty Enhancers and Audenique Martin of Au’ Beauty. Sherone kept my mother properly entertained for hours while Davina worked to create a beautiful escape. 

Audenique genuinely saved the day when it came to my mother’s 60th birthday. With a last minute booking at 3:55 pm, sitting in her chair at 4:44 pm and being able to surprise my mother with Davina and her team’s hard work by 5:20pm, Audenique has safely secured her place at my side in regards to beauty. 

It may seem fickle and I’m probably gonna go back to screaming at the patriarchy in a few weeks but, the year 2020 taught me the importance of finding ways to create memories that matter. Good memories that provide a bit of cushion for the bad ones to bounce off of. 

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I am so grateful to all of the women and their businesses that helped me create those memories. Check out their pages and many others that have made an impact on me this past year and don’t forget to check out the 10th Year Seniors store!

Which small business helped you through 2020? 

Davina Rutherford:

IG: @mybeventmanagmement

Chaunte Thompson:

IG: @personalassistant2go

Cookie Culmer:

IG: @run_hot 

Clinique Cole:

IG: @lainiacole_

Sherone Brown:

IG: @mua_beautyenhancers

Audenique Martin:

IG: @_aubeauty_

AMSEE Photography:

IG: @_amseephoto

Ashley Comarcho:

IG: @a.comarchoart242