Savvy adaptions during an uncertain time

IC3D
During the pandemic, businesses and manufacturers coast to coast adjusted to making things they would have never anticipated. Who would have guessed that Brooks Brothers would turn out masks in addition to blazers? Closer to home, IC3D Printers—which, during normal times, primarily serves the automotive industry by printing low-volume parts—shifted to making personal protective equipment when demand for its usual products plummeted. After adapting its facility and converting its desktop 3D printers, IC3D teamed with over 175 outside groups with 3D printers to produce 36,000 face shields in 60 days. The company isn’t pivoting back anytime soon, currently planning to print “retro fittings” for high-touch surfaces, like doorknobs, using antimicrobial plastics. “In these uncertain times, adaptability is key to thriving as a business,” says founder and CEO Michael Cao.

Amber Falter
At its best, stand-up comedy goes something like this: Comic tells joke, audience responds appreciatively, comic ratchets up the humor, audience ratchets up its response. So what are comics to do when that relationship breaks down, when a pandemic prevents them from testing out material before live audiences? If you’re Amber Falter, you aggressively take your act to virtual platforms—and the results are not only funny but offer a decent approximation of the real experience. Falter can hear laughs if Zoom listeners turn off mute, and tips can be sent via Venmo. There are even some unexpected advantages to going online, as she told Columbus Monthly in April: “I don’t have to worry about taking a Lyft home if I get too drunk afterwards.”

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The Refectory Restaurant & Wine Shop
Sole meunière prepared tableside and immaculate service aren’t easily shoehorned into a carryout model. Until this year’s pandemic, the French fine dining restaurant had never offered takeout service in its more than 20-year history. While some establishments struggled to make the pivot to carryout, owner Kamal Boulos and chef Richard Blondin pulled off the unthinkable: The Refectory Home Dinners. The meals, carefully packaged with instructions for warming at home, give customers a reason to dust off the good plates for a change. Boulos has even posted DIY videos, such as how to plate the restaurant’s roast duck breast just so.

Orchard Lane Flowers
When stay-home orders took effect in March, Kasey Conyers of Orchard Lane Flowers in Clintonville saw a majority of her business wither as weddings were canceled or postponed. Thinking quickly, Conyers put together a virtual floral-arranging workshop based on in-person versions that she’d been conducting in her shop and at The Athletic Club of Columbus for the last two years. The first, on April 18, was well attended by both locals and out-of-towners, some from as far away as Florida. “I love how 30 of us can be together on Zoom, and I can see what everybody’s creating and how similar and how different they look,” she says. More of the hourlong workshops are scheduled for July and August; visit orchardlaneflowers.com for info and to sign up.

A Virtual Marathon
Michelle Amos, who had planned to run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon—her first—with several friends on May 17, wasn’t deterred when the race was canceled in late March. Registered runners had the option to defer to 2021 or 2022, or to race virtually between April 15 and May 17. So, on May 2, Amos ran a carefully planned route from her Lewis Center home to Westerville and back, finishing at a park near her house in just under four hours—her goal time for the original marathon. Her husband provided car support, refilling her water supply as needed, and friends and neighbors joined Amos for portions of the run. The last 100 meters had an extra-special companion: Amos’ 5-year-old son.