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CHAMPS Holiday Shopping Passport


Supply chains are delayed, mail service is delayed, and stores can accommodate a smaller number of shoppers due to social distancing requirements. This means it will be more important than ever to shop early and shop local! While the graphic is focused on books, the message is universal for all small businesses.

Below are links to several size posters and an Instagram sized post that you can print to hang in your shop, use in social media or in your newsletter to remind customers to shop early!

Thanks East City Bookshop for sharing this resource from the American Booksellers Association.

Embrace fall and support local businesses with CHAMPS Shop Fall Event! Participating business will be open online, in store or on the sidewalk (weather permitting) on September 26 and 27! Shoppers can register to access discount codes and be eligible for giveaways by participating businesses! 

Please wear masks, socially distance and follow businesses’ shopping guidelines. Registrant email addresses will be provided to CHAMPS participating businesses. 

Capitol Hill Art League – 545 7th St SE. Sidewalk. Capitol Hill Art League Artists will be showing and selling Sept. 26 ONLY from 11-5pm on CHAW’s front lawn. Colorful, original art, prints, greeting cards and more from local artists including Karen Cohen, Allison Stettler, Nancy Arbuthnot, Felicia Reed, and Elin-Whitney Smith. Shop for gifts or yourself!

Bitter GraceOnline – Bitter Grace is a lifestyle brand beyond clothing that offers a holistic approach to helping people improve their style and self-confidence so they feel empowered to influence and lead without compromising who they are. Cap Hill location coming soon!

Clothes Encounters – 202 7th Street, SE. In store and sidewalk. Shop inside and out for great deals on sustainable clothing and hourly giveaways! Open 10 am – 4 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Clutter Doctor Online. Provides customized, hands-on residential organizing services for a tiny closet or your entire home. $50 off your first organizing session!

DCanter – A Wine Boutique – 545 8th Street SE. In store and online. Shop from a global selection of boutique wines made by small producers and family-run wineries. Our selections include sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines. Shop in-store from 12pm-6pm on weekends and 4pm – 9pm weekdays. Shop online anytime! Registered participants receive a discount code for an online purchase.

East City Bookshop – 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 100. In store, online and sidewalk (courtyard of 645 Penn Ave SE). 1 pm to 6 pm Sat and Sun. Register to win a totebag of books!

Frager’s Hardware – 1115 Pennsylvania Ave SE. In store and online. 50% off our selection of boutique outdoor patio furniture! Available in store or online!

The Hill Is HomeOnline – Love the blog? Love our mugs? Get your very own adorable The Hill is Home mug! Only $20. If you buy more than one mug, you’ll get a THIH Capitol Hill Bingo t-shirt– while supplies last.

Hill’s Kitchen – 713 D Street SE. In store. No products available online. Face masks required for indoor shopping (covering nose and mouth) and limit of 4 customers at a time. We aim to make this a safe shopping experience!

Johnson Law Group – 1321 Pennsylvania Ave SE. Online. Twenty (20) percent discount on legal services: wills and estates, business law, property issues and transactions; elder law.

Labyrinth Games & Puzzles – 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Online, in store, sidewalk. Join us for prizes and community fun! Open 11am to 5pm Sat. and Sunday.

Magic Maker SolutionsOnline. Home & office organization. Complete downsizing & moving coordination. Personal & professional lifestyle management. Instant stress relief. Fall in love with your home (or office) again! Call us for your FREE 15-minute Wish List Review and receive Friends & Family pricing when you book our Virtual Power Hour or a Magic Making Mission.  

Maria Helena Carey Photography – Online – It’s almost holiday card season! Memorialize your pandemic posse with a #porchportrait by local photographer Maria Helena Carey. Contact her at or follow her at Maria Helena Carey Photography.

The Miracle Theatre – 535 8th Street SE. In store (see hours) and online.

Register for a chance to win a tote bag or t-shirt. 

While closed, The Miracle Theatre is offering the following:

  • Curbside Concessions every Friday from 5-7pm
  • Virtual Cinema: new independent films added each week!
  • Online Store: t-shirts, tote bags, gift cards

PHOTOPIA portraits by elizabeth dranitzkeOnline – Authentic portraits of families, playful but professional head shots and empowering portraits of women. Register for Shop Fall to win a Fall Family Mini Session: a 20 minute weekday shoot at a safe distance in a fave Capitol Hill park or landmark or on your front stoop.

The Yard: Eastern Market – 700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Online. Purchase Day Passes online for access to work from the space during business hours, M-F 9am – 5:30pm. Purchase a one or two week bundle and receive a discount!

Guest blog by Amy O’Donnell, Magic Maker Solutions

What a whirlwind, roller coaster ride, and really strange trip this has been…

I hope this finds everyone safe and still relatively sane. The last 2 1/2 months have been life-changing in more ways than any of us could have ever imagined. 

It’s been exhausting to take everything in, adjust, pivot, change everything we know and love, and, to think about what our personal and professional future will and could look like EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It doesn’t matter now if you’ve taken this time to relax, re-consider, re-create, re-build, or rejuvenate—hopefully, you’ve been able to balance of all of the above.  And now that you’ve gotten used to a whole new world at home… it’s about time for your professional fresh start and to get back to business.

Here are what I feel are the most important things to remember about reopening:

Safety first. Your health and that of others are STILL the #1 priority. Having sanitizer handy, making mask-wearing mandatory, hand-washing, cleaning, social distancing–that’s going to be the new normal for a while. Set the example and your expectations with everyone NOW. 

Take the time to learn how everyone has REALLY been and where they feel they’re at now—maybe they’ve found new talents, interests, or ideas of their own that could be beneficial to your business. Find out what kind of support they need to get back in the groove.  You know how hard it is to come back after a long vacation?  It’s going to take a lot more time and energy to recover from a crisis.

Be patient. Get used to just being back at work and the new way of doing things.  It may take someone a little longer to pick up a new process. Give them grace like you’ve been giving yourself and let them know you’re there for them.  After all, they’re there for you. 

Wish you had done more to prepare?  Don’t worry…you still have plenty of time.  Just focus on what’s in front of you now and staying healthy.   Business may not pick up right away—remember, everything else is starting to reopen too. 

Be mindful and observant of others when you’re out and about. Instant gratification is virtually impossible right now…especially with so much going on behind the scenes with staffing, scheduling, and sickness.  I couldn’t believe how many complaints I heard about 2-day shipments coming late when millions of other orders were being placed at the same time. Think of the logistics. The technology, the number of steps, and how many people it takes to get something done during a pandemic when you’re trying to protect yourself and your family.  The mode of transportation to get from point A to B and beyond.  

Yes, we all have high standards and want to go above and beyond for our clients, but, sometimes, it’s not going to be humanly possible.  I hate feeling like I’ve been stripped of my superpowers, but if this time has taught us nothing else, it’s that we can’t control everything.  And it’s ok.  

Just breathe, do your best, keep the lines of communication open, and be honest with yourself and others.  Take baby steps and pace yourself.  We’re conditioning for a marathon now and just need to make it through Phase 1 now. We have 3 more after that. 

Every day will be a victory and an opportunity to discover different, better ways of doing what we love.  Surprises, struggles, and setbacks…we can’t stop those, but we sure can choose how we react to them and who we need by our side to get us through this. 

You are NOT alone. We ARE stronger together.

Amy O’Donnell
Founder/CEO & Main Magic Maker
Magic Maker Solutions Inc.

Mallory Corlette of Office Accomplice joined CHAMPS and Eastern Market Main Street for our May 2020 Capitol Hill Business Series. Particularly during the pandemic, it is important for business owners to identify their core business functions and evaluate the time, effort, and resources needed to strengthen, develop and promote that business. Check out her presentation below on how to think through these “simple but hard questions” and then determine what items you might want to outsource so you can focus on your core business. You can reach Office Accomplice here.

How You Can Help

Financial Resources

  • DC Small Business Microgrants – deadline is 6 PM on March 31. Get your application in as soon as possible. 
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including a PowerPoint on applying

Families First Coronavirus Response Act and employer paid leave obligations

This Federal measure requires employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers are required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave, paid at the employee’s regular rate, to employees. Employers with fewer than 50 employees can seek an exemption from the Department of Labor if providing this leave would jeopardize the viability of their business. Per DOL ” To elect this small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria set forth by the Department, which will be addressed in more detail in forthcoming regulations.” DOL Frequently Asked Questions

What questions do you have in navigating and taking advantage of the DC and Federal coronavirus laws and regulations? Contact CHAMPS to see how we can help!

Being a small business owner and entrepreneur is challenging. There are plenty of critics out there, and often we are our harshest ones. What if we could learn to tame that inner critic, or better yet use it for motivation, rather than a stumbling block in our path?

Life coach Sarah Curnoles walked CHAMPS members through just that process during the February entrepreneur meeting.  Below is my summary from the discussion and resources that Sarah provided to help “quiet your inner critic.” Looking for more information or focused guidance? Reach out to Sarah directly at, or (443) 720-6715.

Sarah started out by asking us – what does your inner critic sound like? What does it say, whose voice does it use? After we went around the table and responded, she noted that every time she asks this question, people respond that the voice is comparing ourselves to others. We never note that we didn’t hit our goal or achieve something we wanted to. We always compare our progress to what others are doing – someone else is crushing it at their entrepreneurial business, why aren’t I?  Someone else has successfully competed for and won several contracts, why haven’t I? Why would someone come to me for x, y, or z when they can go to a competitor that is so obviously successful (insert every Instagram post ever here).

Why does this voice compare me to others? Sarah says it is because it is formed when you begin to develop your identity, around 5 years old. She notes that’s why the voice often sounds like a bratty kid.

You may also feel physical sensations when you hear the critic. She had us think of a moment of failure and then do a body scan (eyes closed, sitting quietly, focus on parts of your body from your feet to your head or vice versa and pay attention to what you feel). This helped us understand what sensations we feel in these critical moments. Flushed faces, sweaty hands, tight chests and throats, dry mouths are all sensations that we can feel as the inner critic dialogue starts. 

So how can we start to quiet the inner critic? Sarah shared several tools.

First, acknowledge the critic. Sarah notes that the purpose of the critic is to protect you. It’s there to let you know that you’re standing out in the crowd, you are going against conventional wisdom, and that you are at risk. She also notes that like a kid, it will just get louder and more annoying if you don’t give it some attention.

Second, get curious about the voice. Why now? Who does it sound like, what exactly are you trying to tell me or warn me about?

Third, thank the voice. Recognize it is trying to protect you. The voice is associated with high stakes and is encouraging you to play it safe.

Fourth, take action. You are in control. You are the decision maker. You can listen to advice and recommendations, including from your inner critic, but at the end of the day, as Sarah says, “prove that you can take care of things.”

Fifth, communicate the plan. You’ve made a decision – now think through the plan to execute it, and get the critic on board. Sarah notes that by developing a plan, you can temper the critic and ease fears and concerns.

During this discussion, I found the most difficult question that Sarah asked – and the one I’m still pondering – is “how would I be different without the inner critic?” For me, I think the answer is that I need to learn from the inner critic. After the event or decision point, look back at what happened. Was the voice right or wrong and why? Take those lessons and apply them to the next challenge. And if it turns out the voice was wrong, recall those successes the next time the voice gives you pause. And try to recall those feelings and then the success that occurred afterward.

Sarah noted that “if you spot it, you got it.” She said we often we use comparison as a mirror, so those traits you admire in someone else are ones you can cultivate in yourself. Understanding what we want is the first step to cultivating those characteristics.

One last resource Sarah shared is a tool to help push back on the inner critic. It’s Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule . Essentially, you have 5 seconds to act instinctively on an idea before your brain takes over. She uses a countdown method to push yourself to take action, like counting down to a launch. 5-4-3-2-1. Try it and see how it works for you and what you can accomplish!

You can find a copy of Sarah’s strategies for quieting the inner critic below.

Commander Kane spoke at CHAMPS January 2020 Quarterly Meeting and provided an update on crime in the neighborhood and took questions from members. She also outlined some of the resources she’s developed and is working on (including staffing on 8th Street/Barracks Row) and committed to continue working with business owners and residents on issues of aggressive panhandling. She reminded members that DC does not have loitering laws, and that other agencies, including the DC Department of Behavioral Health, need to be involved in issues of homelessness and substance abuse.

A few good points and resources she provided:

  • Put your cellphone away when walking. We’ve had lots of crimes of opportunity where a thief swipes a cellphone out of someone’s hand while they’re walking down the street. Have situational awareness and put your phone away.
  • Communicate with the police! If you see a crime or are the victim of a crime, report it. Not sure if you should call 911? Just call 911.
  • Sign your business and your home up for the Security Camera Rebate Program. This program provides rebates for cameras installed up to your home or business up to a certain dollar amount, with an agreement that video footage is available to MPD if they need it. Video is key to helping solve crimes.
  • Still don’t want to call 911? Check out the First District Roster below.

First District Roster

District Commander and Stations

Commander Morgan Kane(202) 299-2037 
1D Watch Commander(202) 437-7632
Station Desk(202) 698-0555
Station Fax(202) 442-8002
Substation (1D-1) Desk(202) 698-0068
Substation (1D-1) Fax(202) 727-4028

Sector 1 // PSAs 101, 102, and 103

MemberCell PhoneOffice Phone
Captain Jonathan Dorrough(202) 903-4123(202) 729-2179
Lieutenant Seth Anderson(202) 536-9408  (202) 729-2199
Lieutenant Wayne Steinhilber(202) 841-2672(202) 729-2196
Lieutenant Steven Andelman(202) 597-2052(202) 729-2197

Sector 2 // PSAs 104, 107, and 108

MemberCell PhoneOffice Phone
Lieutenant Damion Taylor, Acting Captain(202) 437-1990(202) 698-0091
Lieutenant Daniel Dyn(202) 870-7590(202) 698-0066
Lieutenant Donald Ennis(202) 489-9274(202) 698-0068
Lieutenant Damion Taylor(202) 437-1990(202) 698-0091

Sector 3 // PSAs 105 and 106

MemberCell PhoneOffice Phone
Captain Michael Pulliam(202) 731-0431(202) 729-2179
Lieutenant Felicia Lucas(202) 553-8800(202) 729-2198
Lieutenant George Donigian Jr.(202) 815-1594(202) 645-0994

Specialized Units

UnitOfficialCell PhoneOffice Phone
1st District Reserve CorpsPatrol Services South Official George Davis
1st District Team Lead Ivan Lawit
 (202) 727-6587
District Detectives UnitLieutenant Shawn Rooney(202) 763-5572(202) 299-3431
Special Missions UnitLieutenant Marquis Queen(202) 391-6879(202) 299-2048
Administrative OfficeLieutenant Joseph Kuchta(202) 425-5322Phone: (202) 299-2043
Fax: (202) 442-0085
Domestic Violence Unit  (202) 299-3395
(202) 299-3408

Other Contacts

Additional ResourceCell PhoneOffice Phone
Citizens Advisory Council (CAC)
First District Chair
Robert PittmanWebsite:
(202) 681-2764(202) 299-3373
Community Prosecution/Major Crimes Section 
Doug Klein, Community ProsecutorUnited States Attorney’s Office
 (202) 729-3718
Community Outreach Coordinator (MPD)
Fayette Vaughn-Lee
(202) 497-0814 (cell)
(202) 698-0188 (office)

Did you know that January is National Organizing Month?

We learned that fact and more from CHAMPS member and Magic Maker Solutions CEO Amy O’Donnell at this month’s entrepreneur meeting on Jan. 10th.

The goal of organizing is to use deliberate decision-making to create effective processes, effective systems, and smart solutions.

It’s important to decide how you want to store your files. It’s great that you have the motivation to attack that pile of stuff on your desk, but where is that paper or electronic file going to go? Decide if you want to archive your work as paper or as digital files. To get further into this process, as yourself a few questions:

  • How does this paperwork come to me? Do I receive emailed receipts that I have to keep, or are most of them paper? Do I have electronic invoices that are paid online by clients, or are they paper and checks that come back to me? One of Amy’s key pieces of advice – file that item in the way it comes to you.
  • Can you reduce what’s coming in? Reduce what you have to manage to save yourself time. Unsubscribe to emails you don’t use, or mail that you don’t want to receive. Catalog Choice is an unsubscribe method for catalogs.
  • What works best for you? Use a system that is intuitive for you personally, and don’t feel that you have to file things down to the micro level. Maybe there’s a broad file for school work, professional development, client development opportunities, or bills. Save the more detailed filing system when necessary for things like individual clients, and then organize by year within those clients, for example.

Organizing for your business can really depend on what kind of business you have. Have lots of detailed or large format files that are in print that you need to keep by client? Invest in physical storage space like filing cabinets, rather than trying to scan and store files.

If you send invoices and receive payments digitally, organizing and storing those files digitally is the way to go. And don’t be afraid to use a combination approach – digital storage for finance/accounting/human resources files, and paper files for client work for example. There’s no right or wrong way, so long as you and anyone else in your organization who needs access can find the information.

Because business and personal life is not clear cut for many small business owners and entrepreneurs, making sure to use a single calendar that has all of your commitments on it (again, coded by color or whatever works for you) ensures that you don’t miss a meeting or an event. Adding reminders through your phone or email can allow you to more easily balance business and personal work.

One of the most important things you can do is create a habit with your organizing and filing. Set aside time daily or weekly, depending on the task and your schedule, to stay on top of things like billing and invoicing, etc.

Or maybe that habit includes an intern or a personal assistant – if something is bogging you down, outsource it. Your time is best spent doing the things that are most important to your business.

Another part of the organization habit is reviewing your day in advance of the next day. Take a look at what meetings or events you have and pull out any information, copies, equipment, etc. that you need in advance. And at the end of your day, put things away so you can start at a clean desk when you next sit down to work.

Piling vs Filing. Do you put things in a pile on your desk and then say – I’ll get to all this later? Schedule a block of time on your calendar so that later actually happens. Then look at how you are collecting these items and look at how you can organize them vertically where you can see them and address them. Categorize them by top priority or topic. And voila – you’ve gone from a disorganized pile to an organized file.

Lastly, if you start a method of organizing and it turns out to not work for you, don’t be afraid to change it. Re-label a folder if you find the priority word or phrase doesn’t exactly fit what you need it to do. Make a more general file or break out a file into more specific sub-categories. This goes for paper and online filing.

Check out Amy’s tip sheet below. Do you have an organization tool, tip or trick that helps you make sense of the chaos? Share it with us so we can add it our list!

Tools, Tips and Tricks:

One Touch

One tactic that you can use is the “one-touch” process. Basically, if you touch it, you address it right then, particularly if it will take under 2 minutes to deal with. Write that check for the bill that’s been sitting on your desk and stick it in the mail. Pay that parking ticket online. Create a 2020 file for those receipts and put it in your standing file.

Color Coding

For paper files, a tactic is to color code them – red for medical, green for financial, etc. Create a system that is intuitive to you.  Visual categorization like this can allow you to pull things faster. Again – you don’t have to file things down to a detailed level.

Genius Scan

A free mobile app for scanning documents with multiple pages. Great for storing information if your business is particularly mobile.

Audio Recording Your Notes

If you’re looking for a simple way to retain meeting notes but don’t have time to type them, try recording them and saving the recordings. In an age where every phone can record audio and video and usually upload it to the cloud, think about whether this medium may be an easier way for you to go paperless and be mobile.

Vertical Storage Solutions

Generally, vertical storage solutions will help you be more efficient, see documents and files easier, and let you spend more time doing work and less time managing documents and papers.

Buck Downs, executive writing coach and CHAMPS member, led the November entrepreneur group in a discussion of the importance of creative writing strategies in business.

Buck encourages creative writing as a habit for business owners. He recommends developing a habit of writing daily, or at least regularly, about your business. You’ll find it easier to craft marketing materials, pitches and other written content when you have the habit of that kind of writing. It’s a way of priming the pump.

Below are a few of the key takeaways that I took from Buck’s discussion.

The Why, How, and What of Writing

Why –

  • Think of your written business documents as your envoy. They are a way for you to be in two places at once.
  • Documents that you’ll need to write are both inward and outward facing. Written documents are just as vital to communicating information to your business team as they are to delivering your message to potential clients and customers.
  • It is important to get the ideas out of your head and into the world. An idea that seemed brilliant and vibrant when you first thought of it may have less impact when you try to remember it later if you haven’t written down both the idea and the inspiration for it. Write your ideas down when you have them and try to capture the motivation for the idea and connect it to the problem you want to solve.


  • Always be writing.
  • Be ready when something stops you in your tracks. Carry around a small notebook that you can go through later. This is a great way to capture inspirational moments. Find a way to compile or store your writing so you can look back on it.
  • Integrate writing into your daily life. Maybe this is scheduling time on your calendar, or setting aside 10 minutes first thing in the morning before the day pulls you away. It is harder to write for your business when you are cold and out of practice, it is easier when you are in a habit.
  • But how to get started, and what to write about? And how does this relate to my business? You have to get into the habit of talking to yourself about yourself in order to promote yourself. The idea is that you develop a picture of what you want your world to look like, even if reality doesn’t match that picture right now. Then review and revise that vision.

A way to get started is by setting aside 10 minutes or 200 words about:

  • Where you’ve been
  • What your goals are
  • Your best client, or worst client
  • How you lost a client
  • How you got a client back
  • Qualities of an ideal employee
  • A victory or accomplishment
  • Or develop a list of questions that can serve as prompts to help you start writing.

As you write, you will begin to tell your story and you can develop a document to draw from.

What –

Ultimately your writing will be emails, annual reports, communications to clients, stakeholders and employees.

Writing regularly will make drafting those documents easier and they’ll be less dry and have less jargon. They will do a better job of telling your story.

Writing will give you an opportunity to think about how to grow your business and will help you identify what is missing. What are the gaps – do you need professional development, new software or tools, a different employee mix?

For external documents/marketing material, writing regularly will help you create a body of work where you can extract value from your experiences and create marketing materials that will make people recommend or connect with you.

For internal documents/employee communications, writing regularly will help you extract the elements of the culture that you want to establish in your business. Ultimately those employee documents will set expectations for employees and provide them with guidance that will free you to do more strategic thinking.

For more information on writing for your business, you can reach Buck at