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  • Haley Keller

(Not So) Lucky 7th Anniversary

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

It’s 4am and I am awake feeding our infant. I’ve developed a bad habit of scrolling through social media and reading the news during these late-night wake-ups. I read about the coronavirus because there is nothing else in the news. I see some posts from friends doing yard work, house projects, and otherwise filling the boredom of their new stuck-at-home life as a Seattle tech worker. How different that is from my reality; the reality of a small business owner with young children, whose life and business has been turned upside down.

Ryan was born on January 29th and as I attended to him around the clock, Dave took over care for our toddler who quickly became an emotional train wreck with the addition of a sibling. There is no parental leave as a business owner, but what work we had was doable and we settled into a routine. Mondays and Thursdays, Dave took Colin to and from childcare and did brewing work in-between. Tuesdays I would bring Colin to my parent’s for an overnight and get him Wednesday afternoon, allowing me time to work and Dave time to brew. With much of my old work passed onto managers and Dave training a new hire to help with brewing, we were finally reaching a nice balance of work and family.

We were excited to be celebrating Peddler’s 7th Anniversary on March 7th, but the week of the party the call came to delay large gatherings if possible so we cancelled it. That next week was spent contacting event partners to cancel or reschedule all of March’s events. And then during the following eventless St Paddy’s Day weekend, news came that flipped our world upside down – we had to close our taproom.

That Monday morning was surreal. During our usual weekly meeting time, our managers handed off their roles and got on their computers to apply for unemployment. We said an awkward goodbye and see you again in two weeks, but all knowing that probably wasn’t true. We promised them there would be a Peddler to come back to; that was our job now.

The last three weeks since have been a blur that has felt like months, filled with big challenges and many unknowns. Dave’s brewing work reduced and he took over most of the toddler duty since we pulled Colin from childcare and grandparents care. Between feeding and caring for our infant, I filled my days frantically reading emails filled with the latest updates on allowable business operations and relief options, listening to webinars about SBA loans, creating new financial projections, reducing all possible expenses, making a plan for to-go sales, turning ideas into realities to drain the kegs filling our cold room, reworking our online store for pick-up orders, communicating with event partners, and running our social media.

Last week it was confirmed that this two-week shutdown would be extended at least another month, which was no surprise, and by now we are settling into a routine of our new reality. Mondays and Tuesdays, Dave does brewery work and I am on double-kid duty, exhausted and thrilled when Colin’s bedtime arrives. Wednesday through Sunday we spend swapping work and childcare. The mornings are determined by whose work is more pressing – Dave’s brewing work at Peddler or my computer work at home. Then, Dave bikes to Peddler for the first shift in the taproom while I am at home with the kids. When the toddler wakes up from his nap I load the two kids in the car, drive to Peddler, hand Dave the keys, and he drives them back home while I work the second half of the to-go hours. After closing up, I ride his bike home, quickly get my dinner ready, and pump, while we escape for an hour to the numbing world of Netflix. We say goodnight and get ready to do it all again the next day.

My head is spinning and excel spreadsheet calculations fill my thoughts. But I remind myself I woke up at this wee hour to feed the baby, not read social media or think about what I need to do when the sun comes up again. The baby is now back asleep so I should be too, once I finish typing this post I felt compelled to write. Dave will wake up soon with the toddler, who probably also kept him up and hour in the middle of the night with his babbling, but I will ignore the crashes of thrown toys to get another hour or so of sleep.

Let’s be honest, we’re all healthy and don’t have jobs on the frontlines of this pandemic and can afford to feed our family. But am I exhausted? Yes. Is this unsustainable? Maybe. Yet we will get through this because that’s what small business owners do. We’re a hardy bunch. Resilience may be a buzzword, but it’s our day-to-day reality. The work never stops, it just changes. The challenges never go away, they just ebb and flow. The regret never comes, as we love our work. And the joy never leaves, because we chose our path. Anniversary #7 may be an unlucky one, but we still celebrate being in business for 7 years. And when we get to reopen our beer garden to its fullest capacity, we’re going to throw one hell of a party.

So join us now in our modified, socially-distanced, (not so) lucky 7th anniversary celebration. Pre-order our commemorative glass and growlette of beer on our website, spread yourselves out coming to pick them up, and cheers us from your home until we can raise a glass together again.

Anniversary special:

Haley Keller

Co-Owner, Finance and Retail Ops

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