Oliver Kawwass '03 has created a website that is connecting customers with local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The site, 757together.com, allows restaurants, fitness centers, and other businesses to quickly list the services they are providing during the pandemic. Customers have a one-stop shop where they can easily search for nearby businesses.
In an effort to control the spread of the virus, the state has ordered schools closed through the end of this academic year, required food and beverage establishments to shift to delivery and curbside pickups, and limited the number of people who can be in other stores.
Mr. Kawwass, who works for Gannett Media in Project Portfolio Management, was talking with his wife about how much this outbreak has impacted our community. They have close friends who own small businesses who are working feverishly to adapt to the changing environment.
They found that, while businesses were posting on social media to their followers, there wasn't a central clearinghouse where people in Hampton Roads could discover the services provided by businesses across various categories during the pandemic.
They launched the site late last week. Within just a few days, dozens of businesses across eight different categories - arts & entertainment, breweries, coffee, creative, fitness, home services, restaurants, and shopping - posted their offerings. There is no cost to these businesses, located on the Southside and on the Peninsula, and they can update their pages directly. There's also an Instagram account, @757together, with additional information.
Mr. Kawwass started this project simply because he felt called to do what he could in a time of need.
"One of the things I value most about my experience at Norfolk Academy is the sense of community it provided," he said. "I want to do what I can to help our local community."
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