Whoa. I meant to write something about what was going on 2 weeks ago and then last week and then... I realized I had lost the heart to say anything for a bit. So I'm breaking that silence and being a little real with you today. I mean, really... at the turn of the year when you were setting your New Years resolutions and dreaming of what 2020 would bring, did the possibility of what we're dealing with EVER cross your mind? When you were planning trips for spring break or closing weekend or mud season or summer?
No. Because we are dealing with something that is unprecedented in our lifetimes. And it seemed and still seems surreal. Trips started getting cancelled, mountains closed early, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties all started dropping off the calendar. And it felt selfish to be sad about those things, but it's also ok. And then suddenly the gravity of this entire situation made those problems melt away.
On March 18th, I had to close my brick & mortar store and workshop to the public. The weight of that decision was crushing. Shoppers had stopped wandering in. Spring wholesale orders were getting cancelled as other stores started closing. Screen print orders slowed to a halt, but what else can you do as a small business owner, but keep pretending it's business as usual? As a friend from the restaurant industry put it, "Remember when the titanic was sinking, but the band kept playing? That’s us." And that rings true. The world was being put on pause as we battle this invisible enemy, but we played on.
Even though I now absolutely know that closing the store was the right decision, it felt so uncertain at the time. I wasn't sure how long that would mean, the announcement I posted said that we would be closed until the end of the month (today) and now we all know that won't be true. However, how long will it be? I don't think any of us know and therefore it is STILL very uncertain.
Those that know me personally know that I'm also involved with Envy Brewing here in Fort Collins. My husband is a co-owner and when first my business closed and then his was ordered to close, it felt like the world was falling in. Both of the businesses that we have put our heart and soul into had that VERY uncertain future looming over their head. And many of you have probably heard by this point how much small businesses are suffering (and yes we are) but everyone is suffering. Our communities are suffering, individuals are suffering, businesses are suffering. It just feels like too much.
However, what has brought me hope is the support that I have found in my friends, my husband, my dogs, and our community. I've also taken the time to realize and be grateful for all the people and things in my life that bring me joy. Every online order and every text to check in has reminded me that we will get through this... TOGETHER. Our businesses may look different, we may be different, but we will get through this.
If you are lucky enough to be in a situation where you are able to and want to support Akinz, absolutely know that ANY effort, any order, any kind words do mean so much at this time. We just released a 'work from home wardrobe' collection of cozy goodies and have marked down our end of season sale to ridiculously low prices.
If you'd like to support other small businesses in our area, here's a few I recommend:
Envy Brewing - My husband's collaboration focused small independent brewery in South Fort Collins. They are selling gift cards on their website and for now, have to-go beer available Tuesday - Saturday 3pm - 6pm
Social Fort Collins - Our favorite local speakeasy who also happens to be an Akinz screen printing customer. They are selling merch & giftcards online and also have charcuterie boards and cocktails to go daily.
B Fresh Gear - Our Denver buddies run this awesome brand and have done a lot of work to support other small businesses thru this time. From the guys, "On the surface; Retro Fashion! Behind the scenes; Design, marketing, consulting, white label manufacturing, supply chain management. We love The Simpsons, Nerf hoops, fanny packs , and visor shades ! "
Jenna Koo Jewelry - Local handmade jewelry. This girl just made the leap to open her own store this past year and then Covid hit. If you have any jewelry needs, consider helping this awesome downtown Fort Collins gem.
Makerfolk - Another new spot located in the lobby of Bean Cycle, owned and run by 2 awesome ladies who are also local makers. They support and sell products by many local makers, including us! Buy a gift card to shop their selection once we can all be open again!
Support & Save Old Town Fort Collins - Love Old Town Fort Collins and don't want to see any of your favorite stores / restaurants disappear? Check out this listing of Downtown Fort Collins businesses that are offering discounted gift vouchers for future in store redemption in the Support & Save Program.