Photo by Nina Ruggiero
Photo by Nina Ruggiero

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.

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