Many small businesses in the area are finding themselves in dire straits as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep many places shut down or limited in what they can do.
Donna Sadler of Graphic Obsessions is lending a helping hand to many of these businesses with an idea that is catching on, and just last week raised more than $2,200 for workplaces that are struggling or closed due to the pandemic.
Graphic Obsessions has on its Facebook page a link where businesses can order t-shirts that show how people can help their business, and for every t-shirt sold — they cost $20 — $10 of that will be donated back to the business.
The project is being called #SpreadLocalLove37148, and according to Sadler, a lot of the people affected economically by the coronavirus pandemic and the Stay at Home decrees from the state are the same people who have over the years always supported many church, school and sports team fundraisers, but now are in need of help.
For those who are interested in taking part, they should go to the Graphic Obsessions Facebook page and click on the link. There they should pick the color and sizes of the shirts they want and pick the small business they want to support.
“Currently, shirt totals were somewhere around 250 so far,” Sadler said late last week. “Typically when we do an order, we kind of wait till the end and do everything at the same time, but we know how times are kind of hard for a lot of these small businesses now, and since we had such a big push over the weekend and so many orders, we went ahead and pulled those off and ordered those, and we have the majority of the shirts are ready and will start going out. We know that will kind of help with the push again. If people see other people wearing them and asking questions about them. We’ve written all the checks, and right now, the fundraising portion from this week is $2,230. We’re excited about it.”
The #SpreadLocalLove37148 project will continue through at least May 3, and perhaps longer, Sadler said.
“We originally said that deadline would be May 3, but it’s just going to depend on how the sales are going. If there are still people buying, it could still be extended,” Sadler said. “But we set May 3 as the deadline just because we wanted to be able to get them done and get them out real fast and get some money out to these small businesses. But depending on what they let happen on May 1, if a lot of these businesses still can’t open, then we’ll continue to do it and keep the site up.”
The idea was borrowed from a similar company in White House that Portland Chamber of Commerce director Sherri Ferguson heard about and passed on to Sadler to replicate it to help Portland businesses.
Sadler currently has more than 100 small businesses in the area participating and anyone that does not see their business on the list, but would like to participate can text their info to 615-574-0749.
Sadler also added that those businesses that are active in promoting the #SpreadLocalLove37148 project on social media have been the ones that have been seeing the most success in receiving donations.
“They’re all very appreciative. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s most beneficial to the businesses that kind of help work it. We have a little verbiage that we send them that they can share on their Facebook page,” Sadler said. “It says, ‘Support my business by clicking here, because a portion of the sales from this shirt goes to my business.’ And we can see that the ones who are sharing that are the ones who are getting the most donations. It’s like anything. There’s a little over 110 businesses on there right now, but so far, there’s 25 getting checks. It’s all about how the business is kind of pushing it as well.”
Graphic Obsessions is also making senior signs for the Class of 2020, and as with all the business she has been doing lately, Facebook is the place to go for those interested in that.
“We’re trying to do senior signs to recognize all these kids that aren’t getting to do (the normal senior things), who are missing their senior year. Everything is being driven by Facebook right now because we can’t have face-to-face with people right now,” Sadler said.
Sadler added that Graphic Obsessions has been fortunate in that it is still operating at full staff during the pandemic, which is one reason why she wanted to help out others who have been less fortunate.
“Right now, it’s me and Lacey (Williams) and that’s who’s here every day. We have a high school kid that helps and he works here and there. He’s still working the number of hours he’s supposed to work. We’ve been fortunate with that that I haven’t had to lay any employees off. We’re real happy that that’s how it’s going so far,” she said.