A Model for Supporting Local Businesses
I live and work in Fort Collins, Colorado, a small college city a little more than an hour north of Denver. Amid the many things that are threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak is the unique character of the city, part of which is created by its small businesses. For cities like mine – and yours – the wholesale loss of coffee shops, small breweries, books stores, and eclectic boutiques removes a beloved element that makes a place the place it is. It is a difficult thing to recreate.
To facilitate the protection of small businesses here, one apparel decoration company, Pine Print Shop, recently launched its Center for Distanced Shopping, a program through which the company can gain business for itself while also supporting local businesses. It is a no-risk approach to keeping dollars coming into business that, for the time being, cannot be open.
The process is simple: Local businesses provide the artwork. There is a requirement of three colors or less per design. Pine Print Shop then creates a mock-up of the garment and provides a unique URL that partnering companies can send to their customers. Once a garment is offered for sale, pre-orders are collected for two weeks. A 20-piece minimum order is required in order for production to move forward. When printing is done, Pine Print Shop ships them directly to customers and sends a check to the partnering businesses. T-shirts (Bella + Canvas) sell for $25, with $10 going to the partnering business. Hoodies (Independent Trading Company) sell for $50, with $20 going to the partnering business.
“So far, the program is going really well, “says owner Garrett Danielson, “this first two-week period has grossed about $25K in sales.” Like many apparel decorators, the work they normally do has largely dried up because the businesses they normally serve aren’t open and most events and sports activities have been cancelled. Danielson see the Center for Distanced Shopping as a method for “supporting the businesses who do business with us. As a model”, he says, “this project was born of necessity. We think it makes sense because there is no risk to the businesses we partner with – just the opportunity to make some much-needed money.”
While your company may or may not produce decorated apparel, the model put forth by Pine Print Shop can be adapted to produce other sought-after product types that support local businesses and tap into the passion of customer who currently can’t support their favorite places. Items including posters, fabric banners, and commemorative items are all possible.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve read many times that “We’ll get through this together.” What I like most about the efforts of Pine Print Shop is that it takes that common saying and does something with it. It works to protect a lifestyle and a place we love.