As I’m writing this column, the news cycle is moving so fast I can’t even begin to keep up. In the magazine business, planning for each issue begins months in advance. Exactly a week before the April issue was scheduled to publish, the first serious concerns about coronavirus in the U.S. took hold, and the dominos fell fast, leaving us scrambling to make last-minute edits while keeping up with the latest developments to keep readers informed. There’s a lot of uncertainty, with concerns ranging from the overall safety of the population to the economic toll on local businesses and nonprofits.
In the early 2000s, our family owned a small business that was forced to shut down for a week in December — our busiest month of the year, by far — after a devastating ice storm left the building without power. It took many months for our little business to recover after this brief lapse. This time around, local shops, restaurants, salons and other service providers will be forced to remain idle for much longer periods.
It’s unfortunate too, because April traditionally is chock-full of festivals, fundraising galas, sporting events and more, nearly all of which have been canceled or postponed.
The good news is, we are a resilient community. I wasn’t living in Charlotte when Hurricane Hugo battered Charlotte in 1989, but I’ve heard stories about the community persevering and coming together. Just a few weeks ago, tornadoes ripped through southern Mecklenburg County, and residents showed a tremendous level of compassion, turning up with chainsaws to help with downed trees and establishing fundraisers to assist those whose homes or businesses were impacted.
Already, social media, which can sometimes be an ugly place, has lit up with community-minded people fundraising for those in need or sharing ideas for how to help others.
It’s going to be a long road ahead, and not without sacrifice. But we will come out on the other side of this with a new perspective that will make us better prepared to face adversity in the times ahead.
I suppose it’s fitting that we planned a while back for this to be our Home & Garden issue, since most of us are spending more time than usual confined to the walls of our houses and apartments. In this issue, we feature the work of several of the city’s top interior designers, plus a few talented up-and-comers. We also share the story of a Blowing Rock homeowner who has taken the practice of “extreme gardening” to a whole new level. Perhaps these stories will provide inspiration for transforming your living spaces into comforting, joyful respites for spending time among family and friends.
Meanwhile, stay safe, support local businesses and nonprofits, and know that we will get through this.
Cathy Martin, editor
cover photo by Dustin Peck