A COVID-19 Passion Project

ShopCalaveras.net - my COVID-19 passion project

I didn’t know it yet, but what I really needed for my own mental health was a COVID-19 passion project. The grim news was seeping into my pores. I was having trouble sleeping at night, and my stress levels during the day felt almost debilitating. I was grieving like so many others across the world during the shelter-in-place orders, seeing my community decline. Despite my own business weathering the shelter-in-place orders well, I could see much of my local business community struggling to find its way when regular business practices were no longer available during this global pandemic. Brick and mortar stores that had always benefitted from a robust tourism economy were now dealing with bleak prospects. It was heartbreaking and I wanted to help.

After considering some admittedly overly ambitious, hair-brained schemes, I settled on something I could contribute using my website design skills, that could be accomplished relatively quickly. A community-based multi-vendor e-commerce website seemed like it would be the most beneficial work I could offer our business community. And thus begun the ShopCalaveras.net project that has also helped me maintain my own optimism and sense of self-worth in a very unsettling time.

The moment I started working on the website, my positivity improved drastically. I knew I was working on something with the potential to benefit my local business community. It’s a good feeling.

I worked on the project over several weeks, hoping to assist local businesses with little or no online presence to create their first online shop with all proceeds going directly to the businesses. In the process, I discovered local businesses that already had an online shop and could benefit from being aggregated into a community portal, and so I modified the website. There are now community shopping pages, featuring online shops for each town within the county. This enables those who want to support a specific community to find those goods and services and to easily purchase them online.

It’s a work in progress, but it has kept me sane, and I believe it is doing some good. This week, I was honoured to be interviewed about this project, for the Made In California podcast produced by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), which serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth and economic development efforts, along with other Calaveras County businesses. You can listen to the podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/user-926344289/made-in-california-the-virtual-roadtrip-continues or listen on Apple Podcasts.

I wholeheartedly recommend a COVID-19 passion project to benefit others during this time, and I know many of you are working on your own. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below 🙂