COLORADO SPRINGS — It's a very difficult time for small businesses right now, especially those non-essential ones that are completely shut down due to the coronavirus.
However, a local group in Colorado Springs is working to boost support for these shops and get the community involved.
The group is called Support the Springs and members say it was around mid-March when the volunteer group, made up of business owners with social media, marketing, and event planning skills, formed. The purpose - to figure out what they could do to create some sort of platform to help small businesses. What came from their first meeting - a website that's pretty much a one-stop-shop for anyone in the Springs.
Lauren McKenzie, owner of Ren Creativ, said, "The community members or business owners alike can log into the site and find updates on information regarding takeout for restaurants, online activities that families and individuals can take to maintain their health and wellness...updates on loans that are accessible to small businesses, resources for seniors, for parents with small children."
McKenzie is one of the volunteers working on this project. The goal: "Having a cohesive, positive message surrounding how we can all support the small business community and each other."
Right now, businesses that are completely shut down need some extra help.
Lauren Ripko, owner of Studio Q Events, said, "Hair salons, gyms, yoga studios, estheticians, barber shops - they can't make any money right now."
Ripko is another volunteer and she says the group is getting ready to launch a t-shirt sales initiative to help.
"We will take those shirts and give them to businesses that are interested in selling them, and those sales will be 100% of their own revenue."
The group is also looking out for local artists and partnered with Downtown Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and Peak Radar to put on the first Virtual First Friday that happened last week.
"That created a whole platform for galleries to upload a 60-second video," said Ripko. She also shared that more than $20,000 in art was sold, money that local artists really need right now.
McKenzie said, "Everything about this town is so amazing and I know that we're going to get through it together because of the people."
CLICK HERE for more information on Support the Springs.