Turning Shutdowns Into Opportunity

By Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, has written three books, course manuals, book summaries, blogs, articles, and devotionals. Donna writes out of her own varied life experiences, including those of dancer, instructor, file clerk, business owner, real estate salesperson, wife, and mother. Her goal in writing is to bless and help people reach their full potential in this life. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is married with five children and twelve grandchildren. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance."
July 13, 2021 Updated: August 17, 2021

From the first hello, you can tell that Angela and Moe are go-getters ready to make things happen. Angela Knight and Maureen (Moe) Stone are both moms from Jupiter, Florida, who share a passion for their work and love for America. The friends have known each other and worked together for 15 years, first as partners in a successful charity, and then in event planning.

In March 2020, not long after the onset in the states of COVID-19, Angela and Moe stepped out of quarantine, leaving their husbands at home, and drove to Liberty University to pick up Angela’s daughter’s belongings. Her daughter had come home for spring break but then wasn’t allowed to return to school. The ladies thought it would surely be a fun get-away road trip, but on the road, they were shocked and devastated by the many failed businesses they saw along the way.

“The small Southern towns seemed eerie with involuntary abandonment. It felt like a black-and-white episode of the Twilight Zone. Products were still on display inside the dark shops and upcoming sales and event signs of things that would not happen still littered the window,” said Angela.

Moe added, “All these small businesses closed for so long, how will they ever come back from this?” They recognized that these weren’t just closed businesses, this scene was the destruction of the livelihood of hardworking Americans. For the next 10 hours, they drove home brainstorming how they could do their small part to help their American community.

“We talked about what we wanted: to help others stay connected, feel loved and appreciated, and fight the division that is plaguing our country. We talked about how to help these small businesses get going again once everything opened back up,” Angela said.

Inspired by the diligent and joyful little sparrow, Angela and Moe chose Sparrow Box Company as the name of their endeavor to showcase hardworking American artisans and businesses. They’re businesses like Grey Ghost, a charming bakery in Charleston, South Carolina, where the friends had the opportunity to tour the bakery and hear from the founder the story of their journey of growth; and Willa’s Cookies, a mom-and-pop team; and Forest and Hyde, run by an entrepreneurial young husband who had just bought a leather company to combine with his own.

Angela and Moe had previously worked at a nonprofit, Pink Purse, whose mission was to connect women with various causes, and in their seven years of work there, they were able to help 70 charities, organizations, and families. Taking their years of experience in marketing, communications, event planning, and design, the two friends sprinted out of the gate and are taking the gifting world by storm, connecting with a community of American vendors to create gifts that bring joy and beauty. It’s important to them that they deal only with American-made products and that they are helping small businesses during these somewhat trying times.

Formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, has written three books, course manuals, book summaries, blogs, articles, and devotionals. Donna writes out of her own varied life experiences, including those of dancer, instructor, file clerk, business owner, real estate salesperson, wife, and mother. Her goal in writing is to bless and help people reach their full potential in this life. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is married with five children and twelve grandchildren. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance."