The past few weeks have been like the Twilight Zone for a lot of people, if not a complete horror show. But we’ve been amazed by the measures businesses are taking to provide relief for their communities and their customers.

From e-ice cream to ambient office sounds for WFH-weary workers, these responses to COVID-19 are nothing short of ingenious:

Loom makes its Pro version free to students and teachers

Educators everywhere are scrambling to find solutions to problems they’ve never faced before as they shift to a completely online format.

Video-sharing and recording platform Loom has noticed. Its response? Going forward, Loom Pro subscriptions will be entirely free for K-12 teachers and students – even after the COVID-19 crisis has ended.

Why it’s ingenious

Teachers, parents and students all over the world just took an involuntary crash course on e-learning and it’s been a monumental migraine for all parties involved.

Be that as it may, it’s better than the alternative: no education at all.

School districts will surely walk away with a renewed appreciation for digital learning (however inferior it may be to the real thing). Many will be thinking about their long-term digital strategy, and Loom and its lack of a price tag will likely be a part of that strategy.

That’s a lot of really good, really prolonged brand exposure for the video-sharing company, which also serves corporate clients all over the world.

London restaurant transforms into a grocery store in 2 hours

Not many people are dining out right now, but everyone needs to eat.

So what do you do if you’re a restaurant with an idling inventory of meats, fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs?

Sell them to the community. At least that’s what La Pizzica in London decided to do.

Why it’s ingenious

La Pizzica probably isn’t the first or only food-service business to temporarily transform into a grocer, but 2 hours may just be record time.

More importantly, restaurants are struggling to maintain relevance. Takeout is still a thing, but a lot of people are wary of discretionary spending right now.

You might say that this measure from La Pizzica is equal parts self-preservation and staying relevant to the community.

And if nothing else, it’s an inspiring effort by a small, scrappy, optimistic business to ride out this storm.

Sweet Alchemy Ice Cream brings pints to your place

Normally, ice cream is high up on my list of reasons to leave the house, but these are unusual times, and I have to choose my excursions carefully.

For those of you who live in Seattle, though, there’s good news: The ice cream parlor now comes to you.

Sweet Alchemy Ice Cream is offering free delivery and discounted prices on its pints of small-batch ice cream.

They’re only accepting Venmo and PayPal payments to ensure 100% contactless delivery during this time.

 

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Hi folks, as this pandemic continues to effect us in different ways we are trying our best to keep up with all of the changes and still serve you quality ice cream and baked goods ✨ Moving forward we will only be open for pickups at our UW location between 11am-6pm for pints, baked goods, and custom cake orders. These orders need to be placed at least a day in advance – call the shop at (206) 632-0243 to place an order 🥰 We will only be accepting payment through Venmo or PayPal to insure there is the least amount of contact as possible. Our resilient and hardworking production crew will be shifting gears to operate in the mornings before the shop opens to keep up with social distancing protocols. Deliveries will be happening as usual – please continue to message Lois at (206) 313-0615 to place an order 🍦

A post shared by Sweet Alchemy Ice Creamery (@sweetalchemyseattle) on

Why it’s ingenious

First, this is a rare example of small-batch, hand-crafted ice cream being made available for delivery. Owner and operator Lois Ko is defying all conventions in this incredibly trying time so that her customers can continue to enjoy a little frozen pick me up.

Second, Sweet Alchemy Ice Cream is a very small business, and everything about this newfangled delivery operation demonstrated as much.

Owner Lois Ko reached out for help on her neighborhood Nextdoor forum to get this whole thing figured out. She’s taking orders directly by phone and flavor inquiries via text.

And upon delivery to one of my colleagues, she dropped the goods off on the front porch herself and waved through the window to keep a safe distance while ensuring the order was left with the right person.

Cardinal Spirits – and countless other local distilleries – are hard at work making hand sanitizers

Cardinal Spirits is a small distillery in Bloomington, Indiana that also happens to make a really mean brunch (keep this in mind for when this is all over).

It’s also one among dozens of distilleries that’s using its supply of alcohol to make hand sanitizer.

Anyone who orders spirits or cocktails from the distillery now receives free hand sanitizer with their purchase.

Cardinal Spirits is also filling bulk orders for hand sanitizer for organizations right now through its online portal. If you offer an essential service and are looking for another source of hand sanitizer, look no further than this local distillery.

Why it’s ingenious

Besides being one of the first to the party in terms of making hand sanitizer, Cardinal Spirits also posted a recipe for making hand sanitizer to its blog.

The fact that they were so quick to share the idea with other people is a clear indicator that they were less concerned with taking credit, and more interested in genuinely getting the word out and helping people.

The distillery also hosted a virtual happy hour, further entrenching itself in the Bloomington community.

Not to mention, the company’s response has done wonders for the brand’s online presence, as illustrated through the uptick in search interest in “Cardinal Spirits” in the past month:

Kids Creative Agency launches a site with ambient office sounds

We’ve saved the weirdest for last. If you haven’t visited https://imisstheoffice.eu, we highly encourage you to do so.

It’s essentially an interactive website that lets you choose your own ambient office noises while you work.

Why it’s ingenious

Silly? Sure. A bit gimmicky and the kind of thing that you’ll probably get over pretty fast? Maybe.

But it’s clever enough that it’s getting attention from the likes of The Verge and many other websites and blogs.

And to be entirely honest, we had no idea that Kids Creative Agency was a thing before we stumbled upon this microsite. Now we do.

From one marketing company to another, well played.

Dominick Sorrentino is a senior writer in Chicago. He's a wordsmith who endeavors to use language, story-telling and creativity to solve problems. He enjoys pizza, the musical styling of A Tribe Called Quest, traveling, a good conversation and, of course, putting pen to paper.