RAVENNA, Ohio (WJW) — The Ravenna Chamber of Commerce is announcing a new initiative to boost small business sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Rise Up Ravenna” aims to help keep the doors of the community’s unique small businesses open.
“Each business that wants to be a part of the Rise Up Ravenna raffle would donate $100 dollars worth of gift certificates from their business to this raffle,” explained Ryann Kuchenbecker, the executive director of the Ravenna Chamber of Commerce.
“The proceeds from the ticket sales will go directly back to the actual businesses that contributed towards this raffle. So if they contributed the $100 dollar gift certificate, they’ll get a share of the total amount that has been earned from the ticket sales.”
So far, she says they have collected $4,000 in gift cards. Raffle tickets are $10 and can be purchased online, winners will be announced in July. First place wins 50 percent of gift cards collected.
Kuchenbecker says she does not have a monetary goal as of yet, she just wants to act to fast to help struggling business owners.
“It’s been a tough 8 weeks,” said Ronn Gehring, owner of Your Toy Connection. “The money that they’re raising, I mean every little bit helps you know if it’s $50 dollars or $500 dollars that would help me.”
Just a block away, Brittany’s Bargains is closing permanently.
“I’ve been closed for — it was about two months,” said Brittany Nutter.
She says the decision to close was personal and she will miss customers who have become like family.
“Some people that don’t have family they come in and they sit and talk to us for a couple of hours so it’s the people I’ll miss,” she said.
A short drive away at Mimi’s Italian Grill and Bar, they initially considered closing too. The assistant manager says there is a 70 percent decline in sales.
“Honestly it’s been, ‘Okay, we can keep going, we can keep going,’ but barely,” said Jennie Celaschi.
Now, they, like many businesses, are hopeful for the change Rise Up Ravenna could bring, along with continued community support.
“We are really looking forward to the support and the outcome of this and it’s very unique and creative and innovative,” said Celaschi. “I hope other areas follow our lead.”