Local nonessential businesses find creative ways to earn money, donate needed supplies to first responders

By Nancy Price

Greenwood hairstylist Don Allen is keeping busy – despite not having any clients in his store. “I’m taking calls from people who’ve tried to do their own hair,” he lamented. “It’s breaking my heart.”

Allen may be running a business considered nonessential, yet he’s proactive with other ways to earn money during this time. Allen is selling hand sanitizer and CBD oil. The hand sanitizer, at $12.95 for an 8-ounce bottle, consists of 75 percent isopropanol alcohol, the recommended amount from the Centers for Disease Control. “We have two fragrances: lavender and citrus,” he said. “It also has papaya oil, shea butter and aloe vera oil. They feel amazing, they don’t crack or dry out (hands).”

Greenwood hairstylist Don Allen is selling hand sanitizer with moisturizing elements that won’t make hands dry out or crack. (Submitted photos)

In addition, the salon is selling its own brand of CBD oil, grown in Indiana. There are 5,000, 6,000 and 7,000 mg bottles and are priced from $75 to $125. “Our brand is the full spectrum CBD oil. It’s very powerful,” Allen said. “It helps people boost their immune systems.”

Whispering WillowTree, also located in Greenwood, is an artist/vendor-filled shop with new and reused furniture, home décor and handmade gifts. “One of our vendors has been making masks,” said Stephanie Dixon, owner of Whispering WillowTree. “She’s been helping local stations and my customers around here. We’re up to 300 masks that we’re doing for healthcare workers and local people.”

Handmade masks are available from one of the vendors at Whispering WillowTree in Greenwood.

Another vendor is making headbands with buttons to help prevent healthcare workers from getting open wounds from behind their ears from constant mask usage. Prices for masks and headbands range from $3-5.

The store also sells cookie kits and succulent kits.

While buying or selling a house may not be a top priority with social distancing in place, those at Steve Lew Real Estate, LLC have filled their time by teaming up with PepsiCo to deliver 40,000 bottles of Gatorade to all major hospitals in Indianapolis and surrounding counties, the Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Bargersville Fire Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and several others.

Steve Lew Realty is donating thousands of bottles of Gatorade to local first responders.

“We are calling (the project) #HydrateOurHeroes!” Steve Lew said. “I have another 15,000 bottles in a warehouse that we will continue to deliver to some of the smaller healthcare facilities, nursing homes, police and fire departments and so on. Prior to his career in real estate, Lew was a critical care RN for Community Health Network. “I have a strong bond with my fellow healthcare workers and first responders,” he said. “I have also been moving medical supplies around the city and collecting personal protective equipment from companies and individuals. While I no longer work at the bedside, I still have a giving heart and want to do what I can.”