CAÑON CITY — The power of social media is having a positive effect in Fremont County. The newly founded Facebook page "Fremont First" is a place for members to ask each other where they can buy items they need locally, as well as recognize their favorite businesses in town.
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Co-owner of Kaleidoscope Inspirations Pamela Simmons helped get the page up and running and says the public's response has been nothing but positive.
“The reaction is - I wish we’d had this sooner! This is great! I can find what I need without having to run around town!”
The idea sprouted from Amanda Atkinson, a single mom in Cañon City who didn't want to take the "easy way out" and order gifts online for the holidays, but instead wanted to buy everything as local as possible.
Currently, Fremont County is under Level Red COVID-19 restrictions. Businesses in the area depend highly on tourism traffic for revenue, something that stayed relatively steady earlier this year. But now, the tourism season is mostly over and everyone is looking ahead to 2021.
“(There's) a lot of money that goes to Pueblo, a lot of money that goes to Colorado Springs," said Atkinson, emphasizing that many people travel out of the county to shop. "Not just amazon and Walmart, but ... sending money over there... Why? Why. Why can’t we keep it here?”
When Atkinson approached the city with her concerns, they directed her to Simmons and Small Business Strong, a group of small business owners who help promote each other. They all got the project up and running collaboratively.
The Facebook page hosts interactive challenges with its members, like the recent 12 Days of Christmas challenge, encouraging members to visit different businesses in the area that they might otherwise never visit. The business owners tell Simmons that many of them heard customers humming the same tune.
“Over and over again, they kept hearing - I had no idea you existed, I had no idea you were here, I had no idea I could find this!" said Simmons.
Simmons says the group hopes to expand these challenges to other businesses in the area outside of Cañon City in the near future. The page has been up and running for roughly three weeks now and has 576 members.
Do you have a story to share about how a business, business owner, or staff who are getting creative in adapting to the current environment? We'd like to feature you in We're Open! Reach out to us using email@example.com, plus join our Facebook Group The Rebound Colorado.