When things get tough, the tough get creative

“When you can't see the sunshine; be the sunshine”

We’re storytellers. At Voyage, we love discovering the story, we love inventing the story, we love chasing the story down. We love that process with our clients, and investing in the time and talent to bring those stories to life. The greatest part for me is seeing those stories out in the public. Getting a targeted ad experience because, cookies. Seeing the morning news and one of my team’s commercial spots on broadcast. Being drawn into a website experience because there is motion, and it’s moving me to explore further.

We tend to tell stories for the Good. The past few weeks have put obstacles on the process path. We’ve had to halt production, we’ve had to postpone production, we’ve had to come up with new ways of executing production. Though we’ve taken those challenges head on and developed methodology to work within them and work through them, we’re missing some of the immediate gratification of the power of storytelling.

But chaos can breed creativity. It has here at Voyage. And it has here in West Michigan. So here’s a round up of feel-good creative ways some of our clients and other West Michiganders have responded to the situation in which we find ourselves. What else is going on? What are you inspired to do?

  • Harvest Health Foods, the 3-location organic grocer, launched their online shopping pick-up service “Harvest Cart” over the summer and has waived fees for the service to help get folks nutritious foods during this time. They even offer same-day pick up! (and they’ve even set up a call center to help those new-to-iPad do their online ordering! This older millennial with non-techie parents, thanks you!!)
  • Amway sprang into action formulating, packaging, and donating hand sanitizer to Kids Food Basket & Spectrum Health.
  • Bissell expanded their Empty the Shelters event to April 8, dismantling barriers to pet adoption by sponsoring the majority of associated fees for new adopters. 
  • Baker Holtz has said the show will go on…from the home office. Setting their employees up with secure networks, they’re still on call for any accounting questions during these strange times and still preparing taxes for clients, despite the filing date being pushed to July. 

Responding to the front lines:

  • Chaco’s ReChaco repair factory in Rockford has retooled its floor and re-trained its staff to sew protective face masks for hospitals across the United States.
  • Neurocore is offering complimentary tele-counseling for medical professionals, to help process working under high stress conditions with the whole world watching.
  • Byrne, an electrical engineering company, is helping to power ipads in hospitals for virtual visitation. Their sister tool & die company is jumping into the supply chain manufacturing of face shields for medical workers.
  • A network of engineers has come together and through voluntary donation is fabricating PPE through 3D printing for hospitals, nursing homes, food service, etc. They invite us all into their mission: #3Dc19 a hashtag they rally behind.

Creative ways of doing business:

  • Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership has put out the call to support downtown businesses with a giftcard match campaign. In the first 72 hours, more than 350 community members purchased 1,000 gift cards, bringing $35,000 directly to downtown businesses. 
  • Days after winning prestigious awards for their spirits, local distilleries Long Road, Eastern Kille (formerly Gray Skies), and Coppercraft all converted their operations into hand sanitizer factories– supplying a need and keeping folks employed.

A hybrid of support and investment:

To take the edge off by endorphins: 

  • Gazelle Girl Half Marathon offers a virtual experience for the all-female April event. And the Amway River Bank Run has selected new date for the Fall so you can keep your training up during this stressful time. Many of our usual “winter gyms” are offering online classes, virtual challenges, and the same expert kinesiology advice. So, stick with ’em!

And last but not least, GR: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss & co. has put together a comprehensive page of support for our local business community that can remain open during the Governor’s current order. Not only does it list how to support businesses safely, but also lists the “amenities” aka services that businesses are offering. If you’re going to spend, try to spend locally!

And what else is going on in town? Struggle & Resilience. Let me know!

-Kate