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Happy September, friends!

We’re rounding the corner toward the last quarter of this most interesting of years (good riddance, 2020!), and as strange as this one will be, the start of another school year is upon us. No matter where you live, the ages of your kids, or whether you’re a public or private school family, this will be a first day of school like no other. Whatever the plan is for this school year for your family, let’s take comfort in the fact that we’re all in this together, and keep supporting family members, teachers, friends, and neighbors as best we can. 

Our local businesses still desperately need support, too. I recently read an interview in Richmond BizSense with Fountain Bookstore owner Kelly Justice. She said there was an outpouring of support through sales after her shop was forced to close in mid-March, but sales dropped dramatically in July, due in part to what she called “altruism fatigue.” The article explained that buying local is generally more expensive, and many consumers are growing wary of spending amid uncertainty. With retailer after retailer filing for bankruptcy, restaurants permanently closing, and even our fellow free local magazine, Boomer, ending its print run last month, it’s a scary time for business owners, myself included. 

I know it’s so easy to do, but before you one-click order from Amazon this fall and holiday season, consider buying from local retailers instead. Some stores, like bbgb Tales for Kids, even offer free local delivery, and most offer curbside pickup (like Fountain Bookstore, who you’ll see on page 54). You can consider those extra few dollars you’re spending as your own brand of charitable giving.

And speaking of charitable giving, nonprofits still need your help, too. Consider participating in one (or more!) of the many virtual walks and runs coming up. There are more than a dozen choices, everything from the SpeakUp5K on September 12, to the perennial favorite Monument Avenue 10K, this year happening over three days at four different area locations. Or if giving back in a less strenuous way is more your speed, find a local project on, and support teachers working hard to help kids learning from home or in the classroom. 

We have another packed issue of RFM for you, so let’s dive right in. We have been playing plenty of board games, including chess, so I was excited to read about its many benefits in Rhonda Adorno’s article on page 32. Sunni Brown’s article on page 24 is loaded with tips for working and learning at home. I have had the good fortune of being able to work from home for eleven years now, but adjusting to this unprecedented time of having the whole family here with me has had its challenges. As a parent and a business owner, I was glad to see that our editorial team went straight to the source for our great articles on how the pandemic is impacting families. Thank you to the Virginia Department of Health for providing so much useful mythbusting information on page 38.  

As you make your way through this issue of RFM, we hope you pick up a helpful idea or two to make your fall a little more fun – and safe!

Margaret Thompson never thought she’d be a business owner (or a mom for that matter!), but after realizing a need for a high quality, content-focused magazine for Richmond area families, she dove in! Mom of two boys, Margaret and her husband Chris live in Hanover County.
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