Although Halloween popularized mask wearing before it was c̶o̶o̶l̶ necessary, it's hard to get into the spirit of the holiday in 2020. Life is already terrifying. We've had enough tricks. Please, just let us have a treat for once.
So when the Emergence team sat down to think about how we could celebrate the normally sp00ky and silly holiday, we wanted to do something more meaningful for the times we live in.
Earlier this year, Pava and I spearheaded Bmore Baskets - a non-profit initiative meant to support local businesses during COVID-19 by raising awareness as well as their revenue. At the time, most small businesses physically couldn't open their doors to customers despite having inventory in stock and a need to make sales in order to put food on the table.
So we curated themed baskets - such as Black-owned, Mother's Day, or Self Care - consisting of items from local businesses. People could order these baskets online through our website, and we would then buy the items at full retail price from the local businesses, arrange them into an aesthetic display of Baltimore's finest physical products, and personally deliver them around the city. In total, we generated over $6,000 in sales that went back to the local business community, with any leftover revenue being donated to CLLCTIVLY - a non-profit focused on creating an ecosystem to foster collaboration, increase social impact and amplify the voices of Black-led organizations in Greater Baltimore.
We saw firsthand how much these businesses were struggling to make ends meet, even if they were able to secure a PPP loan (which ran out in August) or some other form of short-term relief. Nothing can provide some same level of stability as the ability to make consistent revenue.
We also saw firsthand how many incredible products are made in Baltimore, along with the incredible human beings who make them.
Why drink Starbucks when you can drink Southeastern Roastery?
Why shop at Bath and Body Works when you can support Earth Element Soapworks?
The answer is not a riddle - it's convenience, price, and name brand recognition.
If we knew we could get those products locally at a similar quality, price point, and timeframe - buying local would be a no-brainer. But the first step is just knowing what's out there.
That is why we have launched our No Tricks, All Treats giveaway in support of Baltimore's local businesses. We are reviving the spirit of Bmore Baskets and featuring some of our favorite local businesses in this giveaway promotion. Over the course of the upcoming week, we'll be highlighting each of the local businesses in our giveaway basket so you can learn more about some of Baltimore's amazing products, businesses, and the people who make them. They are:
In order to enter, you just have to follow our page on Instagram and tag a friend + a local business in this post in order to earn an entry. To earn more entries, you can tag up to 3 friends/local businesses + share the post on your story. The last day to gain entries is Sunday, October 25th and we will announce the winner the following day.
We know that highlighting these eight local businesses through one giveaway is not a panacea. There is so much more that could and should be done to support small businesses in this city. And we cannot wait to announce shortly how Emergence Baltimore will be stepping up to do exactly that. But for now ...