East Colfax Community Collective launches fundraiser seeking $10,000 for local businesses

The money will help storefronts struggling due to the coronavirus.

Supreme Style Barbershop on East Colfax Avenue, Sept. 25, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Supreme Style Barbershop on East Colfax Avenue, Sept. 25, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The East Colfax Community Collective on Thursday launched a fundraising effort to raise at least $10,000 during its first week to help businesses along the normally busy corridor.

The collective launched last year with a goal to provide more local voices to decisions along the corridor. Many of the business owners involved in the collective are people of color, as well as immigrant and refugee business owners.

It wants to raise money for businesses on the corridor between Colorado Boulevard and Yosemite Street struggling due to the coronavirus. The collective wants to provide its own relief fund, arguing some small businesses are struggling to get money from the city’s own emergency relief grant program.

Collective co-founder Brendan Greene said it’s creating a process to figure out how to distribute the money, though it will prioritize businesses that haven’t gotten any business relief money.

Business owners during a Zoom call hosted by the collective on Thursday expressed frustration with the city’s own coronavirus relief grant program. The city announced the first round of business grant recipients last Friday, and businesses were eligible to receive as much as $7,500.

“It doesn’t make sense that they make it this hard,” said Jymi “Zez” Shores from Sincerely Tattoo
 about the city’s grant application process. He also applied for federal business relief, which he said was easier to navigate than the city’s.

DIY BeautyMat Salon owner LaKeshia Hodge said a lot of businesses are in panic mode, especially hair salons and tattoo shops — businesses that require close contact with clients — that dot the East Colfax corridor. She said the city’s grant program is not very user-friendly (she applied for but did not receive a city grant).

“We’re getting close to that point where we can reopen,” Hodge said. “But again, financially, there are some risks that come along with that too. We’re required to have all these safety measures in place that cost money.”

Hodge said in addition to money, the East Colfax Community Collective will be providing technical assistance for people interested in applying to get some of the money raised.

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