“It’s really hard to make it out here or anywhere right now with a small business,” said Stacie Franklin, Co-Owner of Artisan Design Concepts. “For the church to offer an event like this, free of charge to anyone, to showcase what we do, it’s incredible and it really helps us out a lot.”
More than a hundred small businesses in the Coachella Valley set up shop on the lawn of Southwest Church, as a part of the church’s monthly Love Local event.
“We wanted to create a partnership between the church community and the business community,” said Senior Pastor Ricky Jenkins. “We have a responsibility to invest our dollars wisely with the local partnerships. These are our neighbors, these are our business partners, these are our colleagues- they make our communities great.”
Many people attended the church located in Indian Wells, stopping by before or after services to shop small from a variety of vendors. From food and drinks to jewelry, clothing, and more, the Love Local Sunday event offered something for everyone.
“I got one of those perfect pint ice creams. Awesome, awesome ice cream,” said Joe Esposito Jr., a resident of Palm Desert.
“Wherever there’s BBQ, you’ll find me,” said Francine Esposito, a resident of Palm Desert.
Business owners hit especially hard when the pandemic hit in 2020, forcing closures and a loss of revenue. More than a year later, many owners are still trying to recover from the loss.
“The Coachella Valley is comprised of mom and pops that are trying to make it so by a church like this being able to say ‘Hey, it’s important to come out, support the locals’, and keep us employed, it’s amazing and it’s really, really valuable,” said Franklin.
“This is something we need to do as a community,” said Esposito. “In light of what happened in 2020, we need to just circle the wagon, gather up, help each other out. It’s imperative.”
As a part of the event, Southwest Church launched their Love Local CV app to continue to connect the community with small businesses in the area.
“We wanted people to go on the app and look at where can they go have dinner, where they can go have coffee, where can they support local businesses,” said Pastor of Advancement Brad Kinney.
“The goal is to make small businesses in the Coachella Valley famous. That’s the whole idea,” said Jenkins. “We want people to think about local businesses here in the Coachella Valley before they ever take their dollar outside of the valley and we think that the church community has a responsibility to help in that process.”