Chandler businesses get creative in virus’ wake - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler businesses get creative in virus’ wake

April 9th, 2020 development
Chandler businesses get creative in virus’ wake

By Kevin Reagan
Staff Writer

Chandler businesses impacted by the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic are finding creative ways to continue delivering services to their customers.

Though patrons aren’t able to dine inside Ginger Monkey on Ocotillo Road, the restaurant is running up a mini market of essential food items.

High-demand items like eggs, bread, butter, and even toilet paper can be ordered by calling Ginger Monkey and then picked up at the restaurant within the same day.

Jackson Armstrong, the restaurant’s owner, said the mobile-market idea seemed like a productive way to get rid of all the inventory Ginger Monkey won’t be using these next few weeks.

Since customers have been ordered not to visit restaurants and bars, Armstrong said businesses like his have to find alternative uses for all its products before the food goes bad.

Patrons are able to buy a five-pound bag of potatoes for $4, a chub of ground beef for $25, three oranges for $1, and a packet of instant yeast for $4, among other items.

There are some food items that are getting increasingly hard to find around grocery stores, Armstrong said, so it made sense for his restaurant to open up its pantry to the public.

Other restaurants across the Valley have been introducing a similar concept in order to sell off unused items. But Armstrong sees his market as serving a greater purpose – one that benefits his neighbors during this time of uncertainty.  “If it’s filling a need in the community, then I’m all for that,” he said. “That’s what we’re all about.”

The Living Room at 2475 W. Queen Creek Road, Chandler, also has started a commissary selling a variety of typical grocery items as well as offering a takeout dinner menu of salads, pizza and $10 and $20 bottles of wine. Dettails are at

Ginger Monkey, which opened in 2016, was preparing to debut its renovated dining room when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early March.

The Food Network visited the restaurant earlier this year to feature it in an episode of “Restaurant: Impossible,” featuring makeovers of restaurants across the country. Armstrong said he’s contractually barred from discussing specifics about the renovations until the restaurant’s episode airs.

Armstrong said his staff has begun selling meals to volunteers at local nonprofits to bring in a little revenue.

“We’re getting creative to have some cash flow coming through the bank,” he said. “It’s a fraction of what we normally do, but it’s something.”

It’s important to remain optimistic during this time, Armstrong added, because he knows Ginger Monkey has better days ahead.

“I want to stay on the offense instead of just playing defense because I believe that when we open up it’s gonna be great,” he said. “We’ve got a brand-new restaurant.”

Nearly every business throughout Chandler is preparing for the coronavirus to hurt its operations in the coming months.

According to a recent survey by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, 90 percent of 550 local businesses foresee the pandemic impacting them, many expecting to lay off workers or temporarily close.

Yet, Chandler business owners are devising crafty strategies to provide products that can easily be delivered with the minimum amount of person-to-person contact.

TouchUps Salon on Dobson Road is handing out coloring kits to help customers keep their gray hairs concealed.

Anthony Colello, the salon’s owner, said stylists will be mixing colors to match the specific shades of each client and providing enough color to get them through this period of self-isolation.

“It will cover what you can see in the mirror,” Colello said.

Colello posted a how-to video on YouTube demonstrating how his clients are to part their hair and apply streaks of color along their roots.   

Residents who are not regular clients of TouchUps can still order a kit by undergoing a curbside consultation, in which stylists will examine the customer’s hair through their car window.

When the COVID-19 virus forced salons across Arizona to stop styling hair, Colello worried his clients would attempt to continue coloring themselves by purchasing the boxed dyes.

“Box color can be a nightmare to get out of people’s hair,” said Colello, noting it can cost a client hundreds of dollars to fix the damage.

To better protect the scalps of his clients, Colello decided to offer his $50 coloring kits once he realized his salon likely won’t be booking any new appointments for at least another month.

These kits likely won’t be enough to sustain the salon, Colello added, but they’re really meant to offer some relief to clients during this unstable time.

“This isn’t about making money right now,” he said. “This is about providing a service to the community.”