We’ve all felt the effects as COVID-19 has rocked the country—and world—and governments at every level have placed restrictions on businesses and the public. Small, locally-owned businesses have taken a huge hit, with gyms and salons being forced to close, restaurants only allowing takeout or delivery, and social gatherings of any kind limited to 10 people or less. It’s for the greater good; however, for small business owners and their employees, many of these mandates are devastating.
Cue Support the Springs, an initiative created by a small group of change makers in the Colorado Springs small business community. On March 13, Lauren McKenzie, founder and CEO of REN Creativ, emailed a number of people she considered “allies or vital members of the Colorado Springs small business community.” Within three hours, 12 people—full disclosure: myself included—were sitting in a conference room brainstorming how to support small local businesses facing the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The result was the Support the Springs initiative. Since then, the committee has been working around the clock to gather up-to-date information in partnership with the City of Colorado Springs and Mayor Suthers’ office. On March 16, supportthesprings.com launched with more than 200 businesses providing their updated information about what services are available.
“The purpose of Support the Springs is to create a one-stop resource for residents and businesses in Colorado Springs to utilize during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Lauren McKenzie. In addition to the website, a social media campaign will focus on engaging and connecting the community while social distancing remains the norm. Instagram and Facebook posts will offer daily tips with rotating subjects including “Mindfulness Mondays” and “Workout Wednesdays,” as well as prompts for residents to help small businesses in creative ways.
The website acts as a centralized informational and motivational platform of resources for residents and businesses in the Pikes Peak region. “Our mission is to unite the community to become stronger together through this pandemic,” Mckenzie says. Watch supportthesprings.com for business updates; resources for residents including tips on staying healthy and fit; assistance for employers and employees, seniors, the arts community and more.
Who Is Support the Springs?
Support the Springs is created and run by volunteers, all of whom are small business owners facing the challenges of keeping their own companies alive and well. Here’s a list, so you can support them as well.
REN Creativ: Lauren McKenzie
Neon Pig Creative: Laura Schnarr, Colin Christie, Mike O’Cana
Independent Project Consultant: Leah Valentine
Courtney Caldwell Design: Courtney Caldwell
Studio Q Events: Lauren Ripko
Springs Native / Single in the Springs: Meagan Thomas
Fixer Creative: Sara DeRose
Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs: Katy Hartshorn
Carbon Based Creative: Matt Andrews