MESA, AZ (Jaime’s Local Love) — Jaime’s “Show The Love” project is a call to action for the community to help Arizona’s business owners who are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s supporting businesses in person — responsibly and socially distanced — or virtually, the hope is that this cash mob concept is the lifeline entrepreneurs need to carry them through this turbulent time.
#LoveUp is sharing the love
This week, Arizona’s Family announced a partnership with the Johnjay and Rich #LoveUp Foundation, which was created to spread love and kindness.
You can help by purchasing a “Love Local” T-shirt. #LoveUp designed it specifically for Local First. Proceeds will benefit the businesses featured by Show the Love.
Empower Coffee Roasters
The couple who own Empower Coffee Roasters found a way to combine their love of the process of roasting and brewing coffee with their desire to give back to the community, particularly creating opportunities for disadvantaged girls to learn about STEM careers.
Empower Coffee Roasters is on a mission to support women and girls through education and opportunity. They donate a portion of all sales to local organizations that empower women in need, including Live and Learn and Go With the Flow.
Empower sources their coffee beans from women producer farms, and they work with other women-owned businesses for administrative needs such as legal, accounting, and graphic design.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Empower, which launched in April, couldn’t sell in-person to individuals and other businesses. They say the worst part was that they couldn’t host educational events for young girls interested in STEM. Almost all of their sales are through their website.
The support they say they need from the community is to buy their coffee, spread the word about their mission, and to donate and support the fantastic organizations they work with.
Where: 1337 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 120, Mesa
Smitholator Cookie Shop
Before the pandemic, more than half of the business at Smitholator Cookie Shop involved in-person classes. The second portion of the business was large custom orders for events like weddings and conferences. The third was from walk-ins or grab-n-go.
The pandemic essentially shut down all of their income sources in an instant. The owner says March was devastating financially. At one point, she couldn’t even locate enough supplies and ingredients to bake. The fear of imminent closure was very real.
As the supply chain eventually got better, the owner decided she would do whatever she could to shift and meet some kind of need. She discovered that even though people were not gathering for celebrations, they still wanted to commemorate these occasions. Smitholator started creating more personal-sized gift sets that could easily be shipped.
Their DIY kits became a way for families to fight off boredom or share surprise gifts with their neighbors.
Next was came virtual classes. The largest virtual class was a partnership with the Junior League of Phoenix. There were more than 70 participants. Smitholator also has partnered with local home owner’s associations to offer virtual events for their communities.
Despite these shifts (and successes!), Smitholator is still experiencing shortfalls, but they hope to begin hosting in-person classes very soon.
Where: 124 W. Main St, Mesa
Sweet Repeats Ladies Consignment Boutique
Sweet Repeats has been a local favorite since 2010. It’s a place for East Valley ladies to find like-new designer clothes, shoes, and accessories in an intimate boutique format. Repeat customers, both buyers and sellers, are the heart of the business. The owner says they make every workday feel like a shopping trip with friends and family.
Like many small businesses in the area, Sweet Repeats receive a big chunk of its yearly revenue from the snowbird community. Losing half of March and all of April was a massive hit to their bottom line. Sweet Repeats did what lots of other small retails shops did — added online shopping. But getting found online can be a challenge for small businesses.
Sweet Repeats reopened in-store shopping when it was deemed safe. While they take precautions with social distancing and masking, they say business is much slower than in past years.
It’s still not clear how the pandemic will impact the return of Sweet Repeats winter visitor shoppers, so they are trying to reach out further in the local, year-round community.
Where: 6039 E. University, Mesa
📃/► Week one: Jaime’s Local Love and Local First Arizona shares the love with Phoenix businesses
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