CorkBird, a new start-up based in Phoenix, was originally created to better connect people to their community. Its mobile application was built not as a tool to engage the world through a screen but to help people discover, share and actually get out and engage in the things happening right around the corner. “Be with humans” was the motto. But that had to change with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the time being, gone are crowds enjoying festivals, live music, church gatherings or anything where people can’t properly distance and be safe. And, thanks to COVID-19, it’s a difficult time for local businesses like restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops and other mom and pop stores. But these businesses are “the heart of our community,” according to Matt Bedwell, CorkBird’s founder. “Our local business people, who took the risk to follow their dreams, make this an awesome place to live. In order for the richness of the community to survive the pandemic, local businesses have to survive too.” And Bedwell says CorkBird wants to help them do just that.
Recognizing that encouraging people to “be with humans” is not viable or appropriate right now, CorkBird has modified its mission to focus on supporting local businesses through these trying times. “Our platform was always designed to help local businesses connect with the people around them but now it has to be the principal focus.” And CorkBird is doing more than just adjusting its mission.
Rather than only encouraging businesses to use the app, which is free for everyone, CorkBird decided to support local businesses directly by buying $50,000 in gift cards from 50 different local businesses. Now, each week through the end of the year, CorkBird will be holding drawings to give away $50 gift cards to these businesses, 1,000 gift cards in total, to users who post on CorkBird about the local businesses or organizations they love.
“We want to create a vibrant community of everyday people, local business owners and organizations where everyone is able to share and discover and help one another in a fun, dynamic environment,” says Bedwell. “But every business can use money today, so we thought the best way to do this was to make sure they got some money today. We want everyone to be safe, mask up and follow the rules, but support local businesses where they can. And we hope this will lead to a multiplier effect as we give these cards away over time, while also calling attention to the many other awesome local businesses out there that we weren’t able to buy from directly.”
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