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Stepping Up

Companies, Non-Profits Help Middle Tennesseans

Between the tornado in early March to thousands of people displaced over the coronavirus threat, area businesses are doing their part to help others in need. Here are three examples of how they go above and beyond for their neighbors:

#1 - GUMPTION

Gumption Provides Sustainable Clothing While Supporting Other Small Businesses

Holly Sweetman spent years working in retail for the likes of Kate Spade and others before fulfilling a desire to bring economically sustainable and U.S.A. made clothing to women through her online store, Gumption.

“Not everyone can or has the desire to pay $300 for a tee-shirt, especially when they’re made outside the U.S. and do little or nothing to promote local causes,” said Holly in a phone interview with Brentwood Lifestyle. 

Established in 2019, Gumption was quick to help victims of the devastating tornado that ripped through Nashville in early March. They created a collection of “Nashville Strong” merchandise and pledged 100% of the profits to support Nashvillians who lost their jobs in the aftermath of the storm.

Products such as the Be Kind and Spirited Spunk sweatshirts, and the Be A Good tee are doing precisely what their slogans suggest. Plus, one Saturday each month they partner with organizations such as Project R12 and the Laundry Shop by donating a portion of sales.

Holly also recommends that area residents set aside time while social-distancing over the coronavirus to clean out their closets and donate gently used clothing to Nashville non-profits to help replace necessary items lost during the storm. 

She hopes one day to establish a retail store in Nashville. Until then, she’s excited to bring her flavor of quality and affordable clothing to everyone. 

#2 - 'THE STORE'

'The Store’ Is Helping Feed Those In Need

As a single mom who has seen struggles, Courtney Vrablik knew all too well how venues like The Store are to those trying to regain their footing. After getting back into the workforce and spending time at Amazon, she’s now the executive director of this innovative project that was founded by Kimberly and Brad Paisley. 

Courtney jumped at the chance to work with this innovative non-profit, located in the 12 South neighborhood, that provides free food to needy Nashvillians who are referred by one of several official referral partners.

A few years ago the Paisley’s were in California when they ran across a similar concept. After discussing the idea with Brad’s alma mater, Belmont University, The Store was conceived. Today, both Kimberly and Brad are active members of the organization’s board of directors. 

Lots of people in our community live ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’”, Vrablink said, speaking from her own experience. “People are referred to The Store from a handful of community partners and they can come in and shop with dignity, and hopefully receiving the compassion and respect they need to bounce back.”

During the first week of April, requests increased by 35%. So far they’ve been able to keep up with the demand since many restaurants that had to close or eliminate table service stepped up and donated food. 

Organizations such as Safe Haven, YWCA-Weaver Domestic Violence Shelter, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Centennial Women’s Hospital, and Edgehill Community Partners.

Individuals needing assistance can contact the organizations above, or The Store,at 615-460-8331.  

#3 & 4 - GROUPFIOR BESPOKE

Fior Bespoke Transitions From Custom Suits to Protective Masks

Aaron McGill has spent practically all of his 38 years as an expert tailor and custom clothing craftsman. What he didn’t anticipate is he would be making more face masks than suits and shirts in the first quarter of 2020.

A budding entrepreneur, Aaron began sewing with his mother Cynthia when he was four-years-old. Through hard work and a vision to deliver expertly crafted custom clothing, Aaron has established himself with area clothing enthusiasts. 

But when Aaron’s business came to an abrupt halt because of coronavirus shutdowns, he thought sewing protective face masks was a way to keep his 11 employees on the payroll.

“I went online and called multiple vendors to secure enough elastic and filter material to make face masks,” Aaron told Brentwood Lifestyle. “We’re able to produce about 250 masks each day at a flat rate of $6 each.”

To help cover costs, Aaron asked for and received donations and has raised in excess of $15,000. Their first shipment of 150 masks when to a nursing home facility in Western Kentucky. Another 30 were delivered to the Virginia area and others when given to area hospitals such as St. Thomas, Vanderbilt, and Skyline Medical. 

With additional donations, Aaron is confident he and his team can make a significant impact, especially now that the CDC has recommended some people use protective masks when they venture into public areas. To donate, visit onlyonetailoring.square.site and follow the instructions.

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