DC entrepreneur opens coronavirus pop-up shop in Northeast

If you’ve looked for hand sanitizer lately, chances are you’ve had a hard time finding it. Grocery stores are sold out. Pharmacies are, too. But there’s an unusual business in Northeast D.C. that has it — a coronavirus pop-up store.

“We’ve kind of like taken on this hub here in the time being, for the community,” Adilisha Patrom said.

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The 29-year-old is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. She owns Galaxy 5000, a hair extension store on Florida Avenue NE. It’s next door to The Suites, a co-working and event space she also owns — that’s now home to the coronavirus pop-up store, as first reported by Washingtonian.

The store includes plenty of free information about coronavirus, including handouts from the CDC, and Patrom also has hand sanitizer and face masks. The hand sanitizer comes from distributors Patrom has worked with before, and she already had the face masks because of her dad.

“He was diagnosed with cancer back in November, and so we wear face masks kind of like as a lifestyle now just because his immune system is weak,” Patrom said.

And if you’re wondering how much money she’s made off the store, Patrom says, “not much.“ She sells hand sanitizer for between $5-$30 and the face masks go for $20-$25.

Not to mention, Patrom’s only had a few paying customers, including Shawn Nance.

“I couldn’t find it anywhere else,” Nance said of the hand sanitizer and masks. “I couldn’t find it, and trust me, I checked four, five, six, seven places and everything was telling me that I would not be able to get it for a minimum of two weeks.”

Patrom said she knows the CDC said Americans should not buy masks, but explained that she still prefers wearing them because of her experience with her dad.