Hope Tank moves to Broadway and expands its community
When Erika Righter opened Hope Tank a year and a half ago, she thought Denver's Arts District on Santa Fe would be the best place for the charitable boutique. But this year she made the move to Broadway, where her original idea continues to grow, with more events, bigger names and more opportunities for people to help others.
Hope Tank's Erika Righter stands by her charitable business model.
"People were coming down to Arts District for First Friday and that was it, and this is the kind of project where I really need to be able to have a conversation with my customers and really connect with them and introduce them to all of these different organizations and projects," Righter explains. So she found a new home for Hope Tank at 64 Broadway.
Not only does Righter now have more space for her products and events, but she is able to reach more people with her concept. "This is definitely our neighborhood," she says. "We've had such a warm reception. People have had such a wonderful response to what I'm doing."
Righter also took the initiative to reach out to businesses around the area to help them find ideas to make charitable giving less frustrating. "I want to make sure that we are also a place where businesses -- whether they're corporate, small business, whatever -- can come here, meet with me and brainstorm how they can get involved in the community," Righter says. "I can kind of be the mediator between the nonprofit and the for-profit."
The new space has also allowed Righter more variety in what she sells. While she still focuses on local companies like Gallo en Fuego, she is now carrying more items from companies outside of Colorado, including Austin-based Mitscoots. "They employ homeless people, they give them all these wonderful work skills, and then they make these awesome socks, and when you purchase you're helping support that process. But also for each one we sell they will give us a pair of socks that we can then distribute locally," Righter explains.
Although she's offering more products, Righter still carefully selects the companies and artists she works with. "I have been able to really make sure that the artists have a motivation that matches what my mission is, and that the charitable component is just as important to them as their sales," she says, adding that she doesn't want to be involved with companies that attach a charitable cause to their product only to increase their sales.
For Righter, charity doesn't have to follow a certain standard of fundraising. "If you're not innovating, you're going to close down. You can't rely on grants for all your financial backing," she notes. "The nonprofits that are able to see the future and connect with people in a different way, I think that their futures are bright."
That innovative thinking is what she wants to foster with Hope Tank, by allowing people to participate on different levels. "If they just want to shop, they can just shop. And if they want to do more, then they can do more and we're going to have lots of opportunities for that," she says.