Reno Loves Local, the local small business support campaign that launched this year thanks to CARES Act funding, recently announced winners of its #RenoLoveLetter campaign: Mari Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen and Baked by Nicki.
The contest asked participants to write “Love Letters,” praising locally owned businesses “as a zero-cost means to elevate businesses digitally to additional customers,” according to a Feb. 11 press release.
An estimated 760 love letters qualified for the contest; Baked by Nicki and Mari Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen received the most letters, 58 and 23 respectively.
As a prize, they were presented with their choice of a business development package (valued at $1,000) or $1,000 in gift cards purchased from their businesses “to be donated to local heroes via a nonprofit, charitable organization or a direct gift,” per the release.Both businesses elected to pass the gift cards forward to local heroes.
“When I first heard about the #RenoLoveLetter contest, I never thought my little scone business would have a chance at winning,” Nicki Simon, owner of Baked by Nicki, said in a statement. “But a year ago I never thought in a million years that I would be running a business, so I have certainly learned life is full of surprises … I am blown away by all the incredibly kind letters I received and every single one means the world to me.”
Half of the gift cards are being donated to employees of Community Health Alliance who have been administering COVID-19 vaccines, as well as other support staff.
“A lot of work goes into our current vaccination efforts and this surprise is a perfect way to acknowledge our team’s diligence,” Oscar Delgado, CEO of Community Health Alliance, said in a statement.
The second half of gift cards will be donated to teachers in the region.
“I want to say thank you so much to everyone who wrote a love letter to Mari Chuy’s,” said owner Jesus “Chuy” Gutierrez. “Reno has always been a great place to live and work, but we’re really heartened to know the community can band together even on the darkest days.”
The contest was sponsored by the Yelp Elite Squad (YES!), with local SaaS company ShortStack providing support.
“I think it’s very clear this activity introduced people to new-to-them places they should investigate as they consider where their dollars can make a difference,” Michael Tragash, Community Manager for Yelp, stated.
Updates can still be found by following @RenoLovesLocal on Facebook and Instagram. The Reno Loves Local campaign is a coordinated effort between Bryon Evans Film, Electrikk Digital and the Gattuso Coalition, with Yelp Reno collaborating.