When the 2020 coronavirus hit in March of 2020, life as we all knew it stopped. Businesses shut down. People were encouraged to stay at home to avoid contracting or passing the virus to another. This period of time gave many of us time to press pause.
As a team, instead of talking about what we were accustomed to – hiring, training, dock improvement, event plans – we were forced to shift gears. We spent a lot of time talking about our future and reflecting on what we missed about the “original Austin” we knew. We realized that for us, we missed the local experiences that were at our disposal whenever we wanted – whether it was paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, enjoying a night of music at Antone’s Nightclub or having a good ole’ fashioned sub at our favorite sub shop, ThunderCloud Subs.
Hence, Sunny Days Ahead was born. Running during the month of May, Sunny Days Ahead is a fund that benefitted Austin’s local establishments and their workers that were negatively impacted by COVID-19. The campaign celebrated the local experiences, places and things that have given Austin its color and funk by encouraging Austinites to enter into an experience-based sweepstakes.
In addition to supporting small businesses in Austin, the fund also gave back to those in need and individuals on the frontlines of this pandemic. By thee campaign’s conclusion, Sunny Days Ahead provided 2,290 meals to those in need via Central Texas Food Bank.
While a contribution wasn’t necessary to enter the sweepstakes, consumers were encouraged to donate to the fund, which supports local organizations across all industries – from music and food to art, events and the outdoors. Beneficiaries of the cause included Antone’s Nightclub, BookPeople, the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot which will donate all their proceeds to Caritas of Austin, BossBabesAtx, Loot Rentals and Rowing Dock. Each organization utilized their funds in different ways, from providing financial relief for furloughed staff to covering operating costs.
“Antone’s is honored to be included in this special campaign. It’s an opportunity for Austinites to help ensure the things they love about our city are preserved for them to enjoy when we finally get to more ‘sunny days’ in the future,” said Will Bridges, co-owner of Antone’s and one of the founding partners of the campaign.
In addition to the list of beneficiaries, there are several other local businesses supporting the cause including Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, Topo Chico, Black Swan Yoga, Bunkhouse Group (Hotel Magdalena), Vital Farms, Fat Tire, Coloring Austin, DJ CASS&RA, Café Monet Art & Clay Studio, Clean Cause, Olamaie, Float On Boat Rentals, Crux Climbing Center, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Blipic, ACK, VIA 313 Pizzeria, Easy Tiger, A Taste of Koko and Flourvine.
“I have been blown away by how many businesses have donated their time, resources and physical prizes – even during a time that their businesses are suffering. Our growing list of partners is a testament to the strength of Austin’s small business community.” said Kate Aoueille, director of Marketing at Rowing Dock and the founder of Sunny Days Ahead.
Sunny Days Ahead Creative Team
Kate Aoueille – Creator and Project Lead
Nathan Trafford – Design and Creative Lead
Steve Horn – Copywriter
Jackson Keidel – Digital / E-Commerce Lead
Lindsay Rohler and Amber Durkin – Project Managers