By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The website SOS Bend launched last week with the goal of giving local businesses some supplemental income through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the website’s launch, the initiative has brought in over $140,000 for businesses in Bend.
Crux Fermentation Project is bringing in only a fraction of the business they once had by offering takeout orders, so SOS Bend is just another way the community is helping the brewery stay open.
“We’re doing ok for the model we’re able to operate in,” Jason Randles, Crux’s marketing manager, said.
Since SOS Bend launched last week, Crux has received around 30 pledges from the community.
The income, along with offering take out orders, is helping the brewery to get by.
“At this point, every little bit helps,” Randles said. “I feel like every business feels that way. Every $25 gift card at this point makes a difference.”
On SOS Bend, people can send money to a local business in exchange for a gift card or voucher.
Matt Abrams, the website’s co-founder, said the downtown restaurant The Lemon Tree was able to cover a large portion of their rent because of SOS Bend income.
“Hearing from the Lemon Tree is just one example,” Abrams said. “If we can do more of that, I’ll consider this a success.”
The goal is to help businesses cover their fixed costs such as rent.
“I’m not satisfied yet,” Abrams said. “We have a million-dollar pledge amount target that I’d like to see us meet.”
Crux is planning to open up again with social distancing measures in place as soon as restaurants are allowed to do so. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty ahead.
“It’s hard to tell, are people going to come back like they used to? How will we navigate the requirements?” Randles said.
It won’t be business as usual for a long time and SOS Bend is hoping to help for as long as it can.
“We have a long way to go,” Abrams said.