College Hill Custom Threads has started an effort to help other Pullman small businesses while encouraging people to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The clothing business announced Wednesday the public can preorder custom face masks and $20 gift cards to Pullman restaurants of their choice at a cost of $30.
Participating restaurants include The Coug, South Fork, Birch and Barley, O-Ramen, Etsi Bravo, Porch Light Pizza, The Land, Cougar Country and Paradise Creek Brewery.
Customers also have the option of donating the $20 to Pullman Serves It Forward, an effort started by the Community Action Center that purchases gift cards from local restaurants and donates them to families in need.
Pullman Serves It Forward campaign has raised more than $37,000 in its campaign to raise $150,000 for local families.
The custom masks come with messages on them like, “We always find our way back home,” and “I left my heart in the 509.”
People can purchase masks and gift cards from now through Sept. 18.
Tony Poston, CEO of College Hill, said businesses are suffering as much of the temporary student population is gone and major crowd-drawing events like Washington State University football games have been canceled.
According to a College Hill news release, Moscow-based labor market advising company Emsi reports Pullman could lose up to $13 million in visitor spending because of COVID-19.
Poston said College Hill, which has also taken a financial hit, wanted a way to draw revenue to small businesses while encouraging people to wear their masks.
Poston said he has not set a monetary goal for this effort but any contribution from the community helps.
People can order through College Hill’s website at www.collegehillcustomthreads.com/ collections/509-mask-pullman-restaurant-bundle.
Poston said he hopes this will encourage people who love Pullman and WSU to support local businesses and feel safe doing so whenever they return to the city.
“That’s who we’re trying to appeal to,” he said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.