Archive | October, 2014

DCI Partners with Play Unplugged to Support Local Businesses, Encourage Healthy Living in Kids

9 Oct

Downtown Colorado, Inc. is excited to partner with Play Unplugged to bring an innovative program to Colorado that provides unique marketing opportunities for local businesses and encourages healthy living activities for children.

The idea behind Play Unplugged is to inspire kids to unplug from the TV, computer, and gaming systems and explore their community. What is unique about this program is that this is accomplished through a partnership with the community and local businesses. This summer program drives foot traffic in the downtown or commercial district, leading to vibrant, living streets, and provides intriguing adventures for area youth to enjoy.

How does Play Unplugged work?

A community entity (e.g., downtown business association, Main Street, etc.) spearheads the program and signs on 50-100 local businesses, each of whom sponsors a unique “brag badge.”  Each brag badge features an activity chosen by the sponsoring business—this can be something general such as hiking, stargazing, bug hunting, or something specific to the community, perhaps a trip to the local museum or completing the obstacle course at a local park. A lanyard and catalog of available badges is distributed to children through a presentation at school, and then the kids are off and running. The brag badges are artist-created and become collectibles for the children, both a treasure and a source of pride.

What are the impacts of Play Unplugged on the community?

To date, the program has only been launched in Utah. This past summer, more than 100,000 children and more than 600 businesses across 10 areas participated in the Play Unplugged program. But, those numbers don’t capture the excitement that the kids show for the program.

In one community, one badge was offered for any child willing to turn in one of his video games. After participating in the program, one 12-year-old who admitted he was addicted to his games traded in his entire gaming system at the end of the summer and said, “I don’t need this anymore.”

And the businesses are excited about the program, too: a survey of participating businesses revealed that 85 percent plan to sign up for the program again next summer.

One local business offered this advice: “Do you want to increase your foot traffic? Do Unplugged. Be sure to offer incentives and don’t be afraid to talk about your business.”

A local medical practice echoed with a similar sentiment. “The exposure you receive from being an active part of the community is priceless. We had over 1,500 people through our doors…What you get back not only as a business, but as a team is worth the price! Just do it!”

Do you want to learn more about the Play Unplugged program?

DCI is talking with communities now about signing up for Summer 2015. Contact us today to learn more about the program at 303.282.0625 or marketing@downtowncoloradoinc.org.

5 Steps Businesses Can Start Today to Prepare for Tomorrow’s Potential Disasters

7 Oct

On Tuesday, September 30, the Red Cross held its Rocky Mountain Business Preparedness Academy for companies and non-profits from across the Denver Metro Area. Attendees learned expert advice on emergency preparedness and response, risk mitigation, and security threats, as well as the personal stories of business owners’ flood recovery efforts following last year’s disaster. The most common theme of the day? Prepare, prepare, prepare. You cannot prepare too much.

So how can businesses prepare today for the next disaster? Share these 5 steps with the local businesses in your community!

1. Conduct a hazard vulnerability assessment. Identify the probability of disasters and how likely they would be to affect you. The Children’s Hospital of Colorado offers a free tool that helps you record this information and determine where your priorities should be for preparations.

2. Establish an emergency communications plan. Do you have suppliers who make weekly deliveries? Does someone rely on the delivery of your product? Do you have staff who commute to your business? What about your customers? All of these people must be notified in the event that your business is non-operational or cannot be accessed due to road closures.

3. Establish an emergency protocol for your employees. You may not be present when disaster strikes. Do your employees have the information they need to protect themselves and your business?

4. Arrange memorandums of understanding. These are non-contractual agreements made in advance between you and other businesses to ensure you are prioritized for those high demand goods and services following a disaster — think generators or restoration crews. These can also be agreements with businesses similar to your own that can take on some of your production while your business recovers.

5.Take time to drill. It will only take you 5 minutes to practice for a tornado or an active shooter, but those 5 minutes can go a long way in protecting you and your employees when that disaster strikes.

It is not too late to learn business preparedness training! Join Downtown Colorado, Inc. the Colorado SBDC Network, and the Town of Lyons on October 17 for the Business Protection Summit & Resource Day! Hear from Lyons business owners about what resources they used when recovering from the floods. Participate in an exercise to identify the risks to your business. Learn the ins and outs of insurance coverage. Find out what should be in your business continuity plan. REGISTER ONLINE TODAY!

Nancy Sprehn is the OSM/VISTA Community Assessment Coordinator for Downtown Colorado, Inc. During her year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Nancy hopes to put her planning and placemaking knowledge to use while learning everything she can about the communities of Colorado.