Like many hospitality workers around DC, bartender Beth Cormack lost her job at Franklin Hall when the pandemic hit and businesses scaled back or closed. Seeing her own economic anxieties echoed across colleagues’ Facebook groups, Cormack created #IndustryStrong, an apparel line that donates 100 percent of proceeds to DC restaurant worker relief organization Hook Hall Helps.
“It’s all about remembering those people who have bettered your life in DC. Knowing that now they need your help, after so many times of you visiting restaurants and them helping you out,” says Cormack.
The online shop opened Tuesday night. Cormack has already sold more than 200 items, raising around $2,000 for the Park View charity. She designed the merch herself on Canva, and pieces in the line cost $18 to $40.
Cormack has been involved in multiple arms of the hospitality industry since moving to DC five years ago. She’s worked at spots like Hawthorne and launched Socially Attractive, a social media and PR strategy agency. She’s also the cupid behind matchmaking events like a quarantine version of Love Is Blind and “pitch a friend.” She says she wanted to create the clothing line to not only raise money but show solidarity. The merch is designed for both industry members and supporters.
“I’m really excited for that time when I’ll be wearing the shirt and I see somebody else wearing it. We’ll give each other that smile of recognition,” says Cormack. “We all come from different walks of life in the city, but we have that one common ground.”