Community Spotlight: Hope Tank

Inside of the Hope Tank store

A conversation with Erika Righter - Owner, Hope Tank
This interview originally appear on our December 2021 newsletter.

Why did you start Hope Tank?
I am a social worker turned small business owner. I wanted a simple and fun way to connect the community to the phenomenal organizations that are doing the most important work with our most marginalized citizens and I wanted our space to be used for community events and education.

I decided to use gift-giving as my method to reach people who would otherwise not have heard of these organizations. There is a huge ripple effect from shopper to the recipient, and we give them concrete ways to engage with the nonprofits whose purchases benefit. 

Tell us about you and your team.

Our team has unfortunately been a bit smaller these days as a result of a continued lack of foot traffic, but currently, we have a team consisting of myselftwo women who are also small business owners who make handmade goods, and an old team member who fills in, who is an educator and social justice leader.

What are the strengths and challenges for small businesses that you see in Denver?  

Running a brick-and-mortar small business in Denver has changed a lot over the past couple of years, as the makeup of the neighborhoods has shifted dramatically, and it takes time to build a loyal customer base. We have seen a very big increase in tourists, and unfortunately not seen a tremendous push for folks to go explore their own neighborhood businesses. Rents have increased and reliance on e-commerce has made it impossible for folks to not find other streams of income to offset the challenges with foot traffic, so it has inspired a lot of innovation. 

How has been your interaction with DEDO, and what would you tell other businesses about our services?

My interaction with DEDO has been limited until COVID when I sought recovery funding. I don't think most people know what DEDO does, or who they can assist.  

Anything else you would like to add?

We have launched a #GoBigForSmallBiz campaign to encourage people to post pictures on social media when they use a small business, and thanks to a grant from Denver Human Services, we were able to commission artists with disabilities through Access Gallery, to create nine beautiful banners that are used as wayfinding at small businesses across the city. We would love to see people help amplify this campaign!

------------------------------------------------------------------

Contact information: 

Websitehttps://hopetank.org 

Neighborhood: Whittier