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Jen Gurecki, founder and CEO of Coalition Snow and editor-in-chief of SISU magazine, doesn’t mince words. “I really just want to curl up in bed all day, and I’m having a hard time pulling myself away from CNN,” she says.
Gurecki knows that she is far from alone, and that the coronavirus crisis is crushing so many people who own and run small businesses. “We have a store in Truckee that I’m shutting down today [because of the new all-California shelter-in-place mandate], Gurecki told SNEWS by phone. Her shop is super small, but indicative of what’s happening in stores and at small brands everywhere: “I’ve already laid off one person completely, one person temporarily. One person will get paid in skis, and Lauren Bello Okerman [creative director] and I will just stop taking salaries.”
As a small business, Gurecki says that she just doesn’t have any runway or reserves to make it through to the other side of this crisis. “Sure, we have monthly and long-term initiatives. We were planning ahead,” she says. “But I really don’t know what the fuck to do.”
That’s why she came up with the idea for a small business support group she’s calling Inside Voices. “I know there are other business owners out there like me. So, let’s come together and learn.”
Inside Voices will kick off next Wednesday, March 25 from 3-4 p.m. PST. It will be a Zoom-hosted call with a maximum of 100 people, first come, first serve. It’s aimed at founder and owners with teams of five or less. You can register here.
Gurecki wants these sessions to have some structure and be productive, so people leave it with some tangible actions. She will do a Q&A session with a guest, then open it up for questions. Her first guest will be Amanda Goad from Bold Brew and they plan to discuss different ways that brands are working on messaging during the crisis.
Gurecki will also kick off a virtual Happy Hour, open to “any human who wants to connect in a virtual community,” on Coalition Snow’s Instagram page. Learn more details here.
“None of this is meant to be perfect,” she says. “It won’t serve everyone or solve every problem that we have. But I believe people feel better when they come together, be heard, and know they’re not alone. I’ll do my best to create conversation that will tangibly help people with what they can do. This is about community, and bringing people together, and supporting one another.”