A host of downtown Delaware businesses want to say thanks to the community for its support. This Friday, July 24, Gather will host the people of Delaware for a “Delaware Has Heart Day” event to celebrate all who purchased “Delaware Has Heart” shirts from local clothing store Homestretch Apparel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event, which is a collaboration between Fresh Start Cafe and Bakery, Gather, Homestretch Apparel, and Main Street Delaware, will run from 4-8 p.m. at 53 N. Sandusky St. Attendees must be wearing their shirt to attend the event.
Upon entry, every guest will receive a “swag bag” filled with business cards, coupons, samples, and more from more than 40 downtown Delaware businesses. From there, guests will receive a free drink or treat from Fresh Start. There will be a photo wall with a custom “thank you” sign provided by Tiny House Vintage and Art to promote social media interaction of the event. Raffle tickets can also be purchased to win nearly 30 prizes donated to the event by local businesses. Patrons do not need to be present to win, and proceeds from the raffle tickets will benefit the Main Street Delaware Small Business Relief Fund.
Attendance will be monitored at the door to ensure a safe environment, and attendees are encouraged to wear a mask. There will be a “flow” to the event, said Fresh Start owner Todd Daughenbaugh, to keep people moving in and out of the event. In keeping the flow, it will allow for more people to partake in the event while keeping an optimal number of people inside at any given time.
The “Delaware Has Heart” shirt is the creation of Jason McMahon, owner of Homestretch Apparel, who had the idea of making the shirt a fundraiser of sorts for local businesses affected by the pandemic and May flooding. When buying the shirts, customers could select a participating business to which $10 of the purchase would be donated. Proceeds from the shirts are now going towards the Main Street Delaware Small Business Relief Fund.
In addition to serving as a soft launch for Homestretch Apparel in the community, the shirt has resulted in more than $5,000 being raised for local businesses.
“It was really just brought on by this whole pandemic shutdown and trying to figure out how we could help and do something to keep rallying people,” McMahon said.
Of the event on Friday, McMahon called it a “customer appreciation event,” and said it will be regulated in accordance with all pandemic guidelines.
For anyone who has not purchased a shirt but would like to do so, they are available at Homestretch Apparel this week and will also be sold at the event. Homestretch is located at 29 N. Sandusky St. in downtown Delaware.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.