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Bringing Back The Burg adds easy way to donate: Text BURG to 345345

More than $701,000 has been raised from the Spartanburg Area Chamber’s effort to Bring Back The ‘Burg’, with local business officials this week announcing a new way to donate.

The community campaign to raise funds for small businesses in Spartanburg County adversely affected by COVID-19 now offers an easy way to donate by texting BURG (all caps) to 345345.

“We are grateful to the public and private organizations that have made this a funding priority,” said Allen Smith, President & CEO, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “Every dollar matters as every dollar will help save or possibly create jobs in our community.”

Unemployment in Spartanburg County decreased to 9.7 percent in July compared with 15 percent in April – a key indicator that Bringing Back The Burg is having a positive impact, said Spartanburg County Vice Chairman David Britt. Other key indicators that the campaign is working are increases in building permits, hospitality and penny sales tax collections, and passenger traffic at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

“A key metric is the one penny sales tax we’re using to build a courthouse and a city-county complex, along with two parking decks,” Britt said. “We raised $4.3 million in the month of July, which outpaced July of 2019. That’s a great indicator of how strong Bringing Back The Burg is.”

Business owners wishing to apply for campaign funds must operate a for-profit business in Spartanburg County. Of the 60 active applications received, 69 percent are Black-owned, 17 percent are White-owned, 6 percent are Hispanic/Latinx-owned, 3 percent are Asian-owned and 3 percent Multiple Races owned. Sole proprietors represent 17 percent of applications and 63 percent represent female-owned businesses.

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Fast turnaround for COVID-19 tests

To further assist businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Bringing Back The Burg has partnered with Luxor Scientific in Greenville on rapid COVID-19 testing, the Chamber’s Smith said. More than 80 Spartanburg area businesses representing 14,902 employees have signed on for the program that offers a 52 percent discount on tests and a guaranteed 48-hour turnaround on test results.

“This has been a game changer because businesses are able to react, respond and plan expeditiously instead of waiting five, 10, 12 business days,” Smith said.

RJ Rockers creates donation strategy

Local businesses also are contributing to the success of Bringing Back The Burg. Through the end of 2020, RJ Rockers is donating $1 for every 32-ounce crowler sold and $5 for every RJ Rockers mask sold to the Brining Back The Burg Small Business Fund.

Crowlers and masks feature designs by local artist Frankie Zombie, who painted the colorful mural inside RJ Rockers on West Main Street. Masks are being produced by Ameri-Mask, a Spartanburg-based firm founded in July 2020 by Amy Zimmer and Karen Ballard.

For more information on donating or applying for funds, visit the Bringing Back The Burg website.

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