Not even a destructive wildfire could keep locals of Durango, Colorado, down this summer. When a worrisome blaze kept tourists away, a group of local organizers and passionate supporters came together to help their local business community. The “Let the Love Rain” campaign engaged more than 26,000 people and raised some $10,000 for the local community.
The 416 Fire started on June 1 just north of Durango. The fire spread to nearly 52,000 miles and shut down the nearby San Juan National Forest. Crews were finally able to contain 100 percent of the fire on July 31, but the damage had already been done in Durango. The small city in southwest Colorado relies heavily on tourism to sustain its small business community. Summer is usually a busy season in Durango, but the 416 Fire made for an unusually slow summer.
Fortunately, local organizers were able to turn things around. An idea from a local resident sparked the Let the Love Rain campaign, which rallied the community around the two things it needed most: local businesses and a rainy day. Local First, Colorado’s buy local group, turned the resident’s idea into a weekend-long campaign. From June 15 through June 17, organizers gave gift cards to people spotted wearing rain gear, led rain dances and free bike rides, hosted water balloon fights and more. After the festive weekend, the campaign continued with a fundraiser. Local First and local businesses throughout Durango sold blue Let the Love Rain wristbands to raise money for recovery efforts. Finally, the campaign culminated with a “Singles in Paradise” date auction on July 19, where some 20 men and women put their free time up for bid.
The money raised is only half the story. Let the Love Rain shows how one downtrodden community can come to life with the support of and in support of its local businesses. Not to mention, they finally did get a rainy day.
For more information about the Let the Love Rain campaign and Local First, visit www.local-first.org.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.