This Small Business Shut Its Doors Due to Coronavirus, but It's Helping Its Community Lighten Up With a Free Joke Hotline (Video)
You're invited to call in for a free "terrible dad joke" each day.
When you walk into Curious, a whimsical gift and home store amid the surf and swimwear shops on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, California, you never know what you'll find. Maybe you'll leave with a new West Coast-inspired cookbook, a colorful pair of earrings, or a hilarious birthday card — or maybe a hot dog pillow, a children's book about tattoos, or a serving plate with profanities written across it.
The bright turquoise storefront has been joyfully drawing in shoppers for 11 years, but on Tuesday it temporarily shut its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.
COVID-19 couldn't stop owners Andrew Gawdun and Bryce Toney from continuing to brighten people's days, however. What could have been yet another sad but necessary post from a local business announcing its closure had one unique bright spot: the launch of a joke hotline.
The couple wanted to "make sure everyone has a good time in life like we do in the store," Gawdun told Travel + Leisure. "I thought, we have to do something to bring some sort of joy back to people even if but for a moment."
That's why anyone who could use a laugh during this difficult and uncertain time is invited to call their personal cell phones each day for a free joke.
Andrew Gawdun: 775-450-3723
Bryce Toney: 808-652-0600
Have a favorite joke of your own? Feel free to pay it forward and share while you're at it.
"I mean, who doesn't like terrible dad jokes," Gawdun said. "We are literally just scouring the internet for jokes and a few of our callers have even suggested jokes for the following days to come. And as long as this takes we are going to be telling a lot of jokes. A new one every day!"
Gawdun said they're working on other ways to help people pass the time as well, including story time — "We're going to read the '90s copy of Dolly Parton's biography" — and simple projects that can be done at home.
Curious has a second location in Hawaii, on Kauai, which the couple also decided to close late Tuesday.
If you'd like to support this business, they just launched online shopping with a selection of quirky items to make you smile while you're stuck indoors — racing babies, anyone? — plus gift cards for future use in stores when all this is over.