Downtown Businesses Come Together Through Innovative Way to Raise Money for Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan

Downtown Businesses Come Together Through Innovative Way to Raise Money for Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan

Kalamazoo, MI – November 19, 2014
An idea that started three years ago on a plane ride has come to life, in an effort to save lives. Throughout October, more than a dozen businesses in the Downtown Kalamazoo Retail and Restaurant Association participated in the “Pink Table” initiative to raise money in support of Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan.

Mark Wrench, owner of The Fireplace & Grill Shoppe and SignWriter, located side by side on West Michigan Ave., wanted to change the story for those affected by cancer, and make a bigger impact by involving downtown businesses.

“Pink is a color associated with cancer events, [so] what can we use as an identifier that is small, subtle and 3 dimensional that would gain a lot of attention?” and the idea for a pink table was born.

Retailers and restaurants participating in the initiative set up a “pink table” area where they sold discounted merchandise or gift cards with proceeds being donated to Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan. A window decal depicting the pink table was a unified symbol that identified participating locations.

“I then tied the idea into the fact that I have product in my warehouse that is no longer marketed by the manufacturer which will make it difficult for me to sell. I decided to discount those items then donate 50% of that sale to Susan G. Komen,” said Wrench.

“This unique give-back event will not only help raise awareness about the importance of breast health in our community, encouraging people to ‘Know Their Normal,’ but the donations will help fund Susan G. Komen Southwest® Michigan’s mission to fight breast cancer by providing free health screenings and mammograms to uninsured and under-insured men and women living in Southwest Michigan,” explained Denise Bohn Stewart, development director for Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan.

“Last year alone Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan funded 1550 free mammograms to uninsured or under-insured men and women living in our communities. Of those screened, 12 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. So donations raised from promotions like the Pink Table program are crucial to impacting and saving lives locally,” said Bohn Stewart.

While just in its first year, the Pink Table initiative has raised $469.18 in the month of October for Susan G. Komen® Southwest Michigan, but plans are to continue growing each year with more businesses in Kalamazoo, and perhaps even nationally as the idea takes off.

With discounting difficult to sell products and donating half the proceeds to charity, Wrench thought,

“Multiply that by half of all small business in the United States that must have similar inventory issues and or would like to participate with their services and it seemed to me that this idea could raise a lot of money for a great cause.”

About Downtown Kalamazoo Retail and Restaurant Association
The Downtown Kalamazoo Retail and Restaurant Association (DKRRA) is a private, non-profit organization that exists to be a unified voice in the promotion of the restaurant, retail, service, and entertainment businesses of Downtown Kalamazoo.