Supporting Small Business

On April 17th, 2020 I did something that would change the trajectory of my life forever. I decided to sell a print. How does that change a photographers life? Isn’t that what they do? Well this one turned out to be a little different. I built the frame myself, distressed the edges myself, matted & printed the photo myself, and decided to try to sell it. I’d always wanted to do something like this, build a handmade product and sell it. I grew up in a woodshop, my Dad has built windows and doors for my entire life and has given me any knowledge I was willing to accept about it. I can’t build windows and doors very well, but a picture frame? I can do that.

I started off with a plan to give away 25% of the profits to be used to buy gift cards at local restaurants and give them to local businesses out of work. Salons, fellow wedding vendors, some small gym owners, and whoever else I can think of would be receiving them in the next week. Well that was a good plan, but it’s grown beyond that. I then bought gift cards to @everyfibercoffee and Liquid Assets here in Seaford and sent them to the nurses, respiratory therapists, and the janitorial staff on the front lines right peak of the Covid-19 outbreak here at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. My hopes is that they could go get a waffle breakfast sandwich (Yep, they’re as good as they sound) and a cup of coffee as well as a bottle of wine when this is all over. It’s not much, but it’s a “Thank-you” from the community for your hard work to care for our neighbors & loved ones.

It grew further. I was actually most proud that we gave money to the janitors. Ever clean up after someone sick with a life threatening virus? Me either, and I don’t want to, which is why I was most proud of doing something for them. We expanded on that thought and went to the grocery store workers and bought them all gift cards to Dona Maria’s Pupusaria here in Seaford. What’s a Pupusa you ask? Click here. Then I realized what this actually was. It was a 2-fold effort to stimulate our local economy by supporting small business, simultaneously supporting people with jobs that are thankless or often taken for granted.

Next, we’re moving onto the lunch ladies. Families, more specifically, low income families, rely on school lunches heavily and apparently the lunch ladies don’t take pandemics off. Apparently, they put the food in a truck and then drive it to the kids. Rain, cold, sunshine, they’ve been out there. So, we’re getting every one from every district in the county something from a local restaurant or cafe. At the time of this writing, I am still waiting on final numbers from the school districts. Seaford, Laurel, Woodbridge, Milford, Cape, and Indian River. We are guessing about 300 in total.

A $15-20 gift card for lunch isn’t changing any lives. I get that. But, what I do hope is that it changes a few attitudes. Maybe someone is have a completely shitty day (maybe literally for the hospital janitors), and they get something good to eat afterwards on someone else and it calms their nerves just a little bit before they go home to their families. Maybe I buy a weeks worth of income for a restaurant, I know, not world changing, but maybe it covers just enough to keep the lights on for another month or make payroll. Maybe out of the 95 people I got gift cards to the Pupusaria, 30 of them realize that these things are amazing and are recurring customers. That’s my ultimate goal, that this $15,000 becomes $20,000 or $30,000 over time and these places making awesome food get the credit they deserve.

The framed print sale is now closed, unfortunately. I just can’t take anymore orders. I’m completely buried in the amount of them as it is, but the initiative is not dead. There’s been a lot of requests after the fact for photos still and initially had it in my mind that I would only offer the color version for a week, but the good we have done is astounding and I will continue push forward. I wanted it to be exclusive, but exclusivity leaves a lot of people out in the cold and limits the good we can do. So I have opened up ordering and you can still order products, however they will be fulfilled by my printer who does amazing work, just not the custom made prints I originally offered. I’ll be using the entirety of the profits from this sale to do good for my community, and just the initial idea, that will take different shape over time based on our community needs. I’ll continue to update everyone as progress is made.

Everyone is up in arms without lifting a finger. Collectively, this proves that we can lift way more than a finger.