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Small businesses and strong women. Coping with Covid 19 in the dunes.

Small businesses in the area are very important to Dig the Dunes. We’ve connected with many of them personally. We love having events at the area restaurants, breweries and wineries; we enjoy recommending places to eat, shop & stay; we’ve gotten to know many of the business owners and we simply love to support them.

This has been a trying time for many, so we reached out and asked a few how they have been coping. We also wanted to know how we (and you) could help not only these small businesses, but these very strong women!

Barbara Rivera, the owner of Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast in Valpo reached out to us several months ago to join the directory. She welcomed us into her inn for a tour and we fell in love immediately. We knew she put her heart and soul into this bed & breakfast and spa.

The dining area at Songbird Prairie has a beautiful view!

In the month of March Songbird Prairie Inn and Spa was alerted by the health department to use plastic ware when serving their guests breakfast. They immediately enforced that practice and since the Governor of Indiana put the shelter at home in place, they have been closed. All the rooms are now completely sanitized and they are waiting patiently to open once again. In the meantime, you are welcome to purchase gift certificates to help support this local spot. Email them at and they will take care of you. Trust us…you will want to stay here when this is all over!

The first time Dig the Dunes met Dawn Huston we knew she was going to do good things in the dunes! Dawn is the owner of both a restaurant and a liquor store on the Dunes Highway in Beverly Shores. Like all restaurants in Indiana, COVID-19 has shaped some business decisions and changes she didn’t anticipate. Dawn has temporarily closed the restaurant, The Goblin & The Grocer until the Governor lifts restrictions mandated due to the virus. Patrons can help support the staff by purchasing gift certificates, here.

Dawn & Steve Huston’s French Bulldog, Tinkerbell, practicing social distancing for curbside greetings.

Hobgoblin Fine Wine & Spirits, owned by Dawn and her husband Steve, remains open and is continuing to serve the dunes community. At Hobgoblin they are constantly evaluating safe business practices and the best way to serve their customers while practicing social distancing. They are working to keep their “Little Dunes Oasis” serving the neighborhood and to offset the stress of our new normal.

Hobgoblin has specials every week and this week’s dose is Tito’s Vodka & Jimmy Luv’s Bloody Mary Mix. They are also offering different COVID-19 discounts. Currently, Hobgoblin offers curbside pickup, and delivery to the Dunes community. (5 mile radius). They are open Mon-Sat 11-8 & Sun 12-8. Be sure to check their facebook page for specials and updates.

Monica Gauthier was one of the first people to purchase a banner ad from Dig the Dunes for her company North Star Properties. She has continued to support us year after year realizing the value we can bring each other. Monica specializes in vacation rental and selling homes in the dunes.

Monica purchased a 360 camera to help with her showings.

For listings, Monica has been spacing out showings, no open houses and opening all doors and closets. For her Buyer’s who still need to continue their search, she has purchased a 360 camera which allows her to get better angles and details of rooms. Once her clients find a property they love, she’ll open the home and wait outside until they finish. For Vacation Rentals, she has had to cancel all her spring reservations, but is holding onto hope that her summer and fall reservations will stay in tact. All documents and signings are digital, to prevent any person to person contact. She is trying to be as proactive and creative as possible to fulfill the needs of her clients. If you are looking for a realtor or a vacation rental for the future, you can find out what Monica has available, here. She suggests you go right to her website for rentals (rather than airbnb, etc.) to avoid hidden fees.

If someone were to ask you who the hardest working woman in the dunes is, you might just say Nicole Bissonnette of Michigan City’s popular restaurant, Fish Camp. Nicole worked with Dig the Dunes back at Bartlett’s and continues to do many events with us, including the popular Bloody Mary Brawl and our most recent Scavenger Hunt.

Nicole acted fast when the news of COVID 19 broke. Out of an abundance of caution she implemented high alert sanitizing efforts the week prior to March 16th. Once the reality of the shutdown set in, she decided to immediately start a to-go program with limited daily menus. Since Fish Camp offers such a vast menu of all fresh food, it was impossible to offer full menu. For a few weeks, she worked alone 7 days a week. Since she had no online ordering capabilities, guests were pre ordering via text to her personal cell phone! It was time consuming and stressful. After a few weeks of being away from her kids too much, she narrowed her offering down to 3 nights a week (Thursday- Saturday) and implemented a program for online ordering ( which has helped tremendously. Guests are very supportive and she thinks they enjoy the lobby pick up procedure, simply for the few minutes of interaction with her manager- Anjie, a friendly familiar face! Nicole is also selling cocktail kits which allow customers to purchase all the ingredients including fresh squeezed juices that they can mix up at home.

Check Fish Camp’s facebook page for their full menus & cocktail kits Thursday-Saturday.

Dig the Dunes is also a small business with a team of strong women. The majority of our income comes from events (which we have had to cancel or postpone), so we are focusing on our our merchandise sales and our dunie memberships to survive. We will, of course, continue to post photos of the dunes and articles like this. Be sure to continue to follow Dig the Dunes on facebook, instagram and twitter @digthedunes and sign up for our Dig the Dunes weekly e-newsletter, right here!

Please continue to support these small businesses and strong women. You can check out these as well as many other small businesses in our “Cool Digs Directory”!

Know a small business that could use a little extra support? Send them our way!

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