Editor’s note: The original online and print version of this story included an error where it was reported that Delmar’s Balance Massage and Healing Arts studio would reopen, starting this Saturday, May 9. Due to Gov. Cuomo’s recent announcement on statewide reopening phases after this article went to print and online, that error has since been corrected and Balance Massage and Healing Arts studio can only begin curbside pickup next Friday, May 15.
With Mother’s Day approaching on Sunday, May 10, numerous Capital District businesses are staying optimistic by offering specials and gift ideas despite COVID-19.
Susan Kerber — the owner of RAD Soap Co., an Albany-based family-owned business that sells natural bar and liquid soaps, deodorants and hand sanitizers — said it will reopen its Stuyvesant Plaza storefront this Friday, May 8 through Sunday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After this weekend, the storefront will be open for the same timeframe from Tuesdays to Saturdays; it will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Customers can order products from its website and either do curbside pickup or enter a designated section of the store to pick up their orders. Only four to five customers, who are required to wear masks, would be allowed inside the store at a time, with crosses on the floor indicating how much distance they must maintain between one another.
“We’re going to do a lot for Mother’s Day, like with our grand reopening, and we’ll have creams, lotions, online packaging specials and more because we feel that moms should be treated,” Kerber said. “Right now, moms have kids learning at home and have a lot to deal with. We believe moms teach kids about how to wash hands and everyone’s washing their hands more than ever now. So, it’s really nice to treat moms with nice smells and natural products.”
RAD Soap Co.’s reopening this week marks the first time its doors will open since temporarily closing in March. “Because we make natural hand sanitizers and have been successful in that, [the state] let us stay open and consider us an essential business,’ Kerber said. “The sales for that have been astronomical.”
While saying that Mother’s Day is one of her business’ busiest times, Kerber brought up that she originally started RAD Soap Co. in 2009 partially because she wanted to make soap that could also help one of her two sons who struggled with eczema. She connected this with how mothers continue to rely on her business for natural products and the importance of observing Mother’s Day, especially during the pandemic this year.
“Times will change but moms will be there forever who care about everything and I think they should be appreciated,” she said.
Balance Massage and Healing Arts, a Delmar-based massage studio since 2001, is selling online gift certificates (which include wellness packages) that make for thoughtful Mother’s Day gift ideas, according to its owner Denise Healy-Mason.
The physical studio is closed to the public though. Due to Gov. Cuomo’s recent announcement about statewide reopening phases, curbside pickup can begin next Friday, May 15. This means that Mother’s Day-related shopping for gift certificates are only available online for now.
“Usually the week before Mother’s Day is when people think they got to get something for their mothers and so far, we’ve sold gift cards and some wellness packages,” she said. “I believe that every day, mothers need to be celebrated.”
Evoke Style, a Stuyvesant Plaza women’s clothing store that sells shoes, clothing and handbags with a target demographic of women aged 35 and up since 2010, has held several weekly raffles leading up to Mother’s Day. Last week was a raffle for a $400 shoe gift certificate while this week sees customers vying for a piece of jewelry priced at around $400.
Owner Sandra Dollard said each week, a raffle ticket costs $20 and customers can score a ticket by emailing at [email protected] or calling 518-512-5240. She announces the weekly raffle on Tuesdays; customers must pay over the phone for raffle tickets by Wednesdays; and the winner is announced on Facebook by Fridays.
Even if a customer does not win the prize, they would receive a $20 gift certificate that they can use for any future purchase. All gift certificates are valid online by calling the aforementioned number and when the store reopens in time.
Dollard said the raffles have been “taking off” and “I’m so grateful for all my ladies and customers who are still supportive during this time.” She added that since the pandemic began, Evoke Style’s storefront temporarily closed but offers delivery and curbside pickup for online orders.
“There’s so much women do for their families and this time, it’s stressful so giving your mother something is fantastic,” Dollard said. “Mothers are dealing with their children’s online schooling and trying to get their work done but it’s important now more than ever to spend time with your families, especially your mothers.”
In Latham, The Century House, a family-owned restaurant, hotel and event venue operating for over 70 years, is offering online gift certificates and a special takeout menu of brunch and dinner family meals to help residents celebrate Mother’s Day. Each meal serves four people and includes salad, rolls, butter and lemon cake.
Brunch meals include corned beef hash, eggs, croissants and European-style waffles while dinner meals include prime rib, roasted salmon, lemon basil chicken and pork roulade.
People must pre-order by Wednesday, May 6 by calling 518-213-0956. On Saturday, May 9, people can do either curbside pickup or have their orders delivered via Grubhub.
“We understand now more than ever that guests are looking for ways to express gratitude for mothers,” said Maribeth Livingston, the Century House’s director of marketing. “I think that many times people may not be able to see their moms due to social distancing this year or moms have to adjust to the new normal with childcare and homeschooling. We’re just honored to do our small part to make Mother’s Day special for our guests.”
She also brought up the Century House’s Enjoy One Share One program — started in 2009 — which provides a meal to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York for the hungry for every time a guest or customer orders an entrée or takeout. This applies for all takeout orders the Century House has delivered since the pandemic started and will continue with all Mother’s Day takeout orders.
“It’s important because the food bank needs our help more than ever now and we’re doing our small part in helping to alleviate some of that stress,” Livingston said. “Also, we understand that many people can’t spend time with their mothers normally this year but I love seeing the way our community has come together and found ways of being safe. Mother’s Day is important every year and this year, we can celebrate that with positivity and food.”