An online community auction, “Share the Love,” is on the way for businesses in Lake County. Merchants will sell products, services and gift cards in the auction from April 10 to April 22.

All proceeds will go to participating vendors. Buyers and sellers will also have the option to donate to local relief efforts.

Lake County’s auction is modeled upon Chaffeee County’s “Now This is Love Auction.” The auction has raised over $116,500 since late March.

The Lake County auction, organized by Ann Stanek of Harperrose Gallery and Carrie Mallozzi of Stellar and Sage Events, will create a new online interface for local businesses to sell products and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buyers will also have the option to donate to a community relief fund that supports local business at the auction’s checkout.

“Share the Love” will also feature Lake County School District Art Department items that would have been auctioned at the district’s spring art show. All proceeds from the sale of art department pieces will go towards student art supplies.

“Merchants can share the love by donating part of their proceeds to a certain cause as well,” Stanek told the Herald. The Harperrose owner, for example, has pledged to donate 10% of the gallery’s auction proceeds to LCSD’s art department.

In Chaffee County, individuals have purchased and then donated auction items to first responders, health care workers and those who have lost jobs to the pandemic.

“Share the Love” is just one way to support local businesses facing indeterminate closures in the face of COVID-19.

Gift card purchases are another option. Gift cards provide businesses up-front capital and offer buyers a shopping spree when stores and restaurants reopen.

The Herald and Leadville Main Street, in coordination with the local economic development corporation, chamber or commerce and tourism panel, encourage locals to buy gift cards on Tuesdays as part of the “Tuesday Gift Card Challenge.”

A variety of local businesses are offering discounts on gift cards and online purchases during storefront closures.

For example, Aspen Traders is now offering 10% off gift card purchases by request. Shoppers can purchase gift cards or boutique items through Aspen Traders’ online store, which was set up last month after the storefront was ordered to close.

Alpine Furniture Company is offering 17% off gift cards over $50. Gift cards can be purchased online and sent out as electronic or print certificates.

“Right now, anything helps,” Jason Hall, Alpine Furniture Company owner, said.

“Gift card purchases help businesses to know that they are valued and also to help cover their costs during the shutdown,” Leadville Outdoors owner Heather Glyde told the Herald. “It helps businesses support their employees and also to give back to the community.”

Though Glyde is not offering a discount on gift cards, 10% of Leadville Outdoors’ sales during the closure, including gift cards and clearance items, will be donated to community relief efforts. Leadville Outdoors’ new online store went live earlier this week.

“Share the Love” will go live on April 10 at 2 p.m., a nod to Leadville’s elevation. Visit https://www.32auctions.com/sharelove to participate.

Lake County businesses and freelancers can submit up to three auction items by filling out the auction form on the Herald’s website. Items will be added throughout the auction.

“For us, this auction was a great way to generate revenue for small businesses all around Lake County and also give others a chance to raise donation funds that will help local causes,” Stanek said.

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