By CRISTINA JANNEY
Two local businesses are reshaping their sales in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
With so many people stuck at home, The Niche in Hays, an arts and craft studio, and Arthur's Pizza of Ellis are both offering kits you can make at home.
The Niche is offering kits for both children and adults. Emily Weigel, owner of The Niche, made the tough decision to cancel all her in-person classes and close her open studio times.
She has offered take-home kits for some time, but in light of so many kids home because of coronavirus precautions, the take-home kits sales have taken off, Weigel said.
You can pick up up the kits during limited hours at The Niche from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays, or Weigel offers no-contact delivery. You must call the studio at 785-639-5465 or message The Niche on Facebook to reserve the kits in advance.
Some of the kits give the option for specific paint colors or a child's initial, which has to be made in advance.
The Niche is offering a wooden star with the child's name, monogram canvas, dreamcatcher or several choices of string art.
The canvas projects cost $15 each. The string art is $20 per kit.
The canvas projects are recommended for children of any age. The dream catchers are recommended for children 8 and older. The string art is recommended for children 10 and older.
The paint kits come with everything you need except brushes. This includes paint and glue. The Niche will rent brushes for $10 per set, which will be returned if the brushes are returned.
Weigel said special brushes are not needed for the projects, and most people are using what they have at home.
For the string art projects, you will need a hammer.
"They are focused on kids, because that seems to be the biggest thing parents are telling me. Kids are home, and they are super bored," Weigel said.
Arthur's Pizza and Mexican Food in Ellis is also offering kits that are aimed at families.
Gilbert Kinderknecht, owner, is partnering with the Ellis Recreation Commission to film Facebook how-to videos to go with several releases of take-and-make food kits.
This week, the restaurant will launch kits for pizza and knots.
The kits come with Arthur's scratch-made dough, which is made freshly daily at the restaurant,
The pizza kits come with pizza sauce, cheese and toppings.
The cost of the kits will be $10. The pizza kit will make a medium pizza, and the knot kit will make 18 knots. Kinderknecht said most of the meals will feed two to four people.
"The kids can learn weights and measures, and food safety," Kinderknecht said.
The first two videos will be released Thursday and Friday.
Quesadilla, taco and sandwich kits will be released in coming weeks with videos released on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Call Arthur's at 785-726-4683 for orders.
Adults can get in on the fun, too
Weigel said she will soon be launching projects for adults. She has made videos of two paint classes for adults that she is also offering as take-home kits.
You receive the canvas and paints, and she supplies a link to the video. One of the projects is an aspen scene, and the other is jars hanging from branches with fireflies in them.
Since her wood sign "Hanging with my Peeps" class is also going to be canceled, she also plans to offer that as a kit class with an online tutorial. All at-home classes will cost the regular $30 fee.
Small businesses weathering the crisis
Weigel said she has had good response to the children's kits thus far. She said she is happy to offer the service, but it has required more time to assemble the kits and manage orders via Messenger or phone.
She is also somewhat limited on the supplies she can get at this time, but she said it is worth the effort to keep the business going during this tough time.
It's the right thing to do, Weigel said, of closing her studio. Social distancing is protecting her customers and her own family. Her husband has asthma and her daughter is only 1 and half.
Yet Weigel said she is till worried about the future.
"My business is entertainment," she said. "It not essential. It is definitely not something people have to do. I don't know how long this is going to go on. It continues to be worrisome. Right now, this is a good option."
Arthur's is still open for dine-in service, but diners are being set at least six feet apart. The restaurant is also offering curb-side pickup and no-contact delivery.
Kinderknecht said dine-in service is down significantly since the coronavirus outbreak began in the U.S.
"This is helping us," he said of the kits and delivery. "It is helping our customers. A lot of people are stuck at home. If they run out of groceries, this is an alternative."
He asked local residents to keep local businesses in mind during the crisis.
"If you use local business," he said, "you will keep business here after a downturn like this."