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“Hearts on Harrison” – How LRS Retail Manager Kelsey Conine-Wood is brightening up downtown Leadville amidst the Coronavirus crisis.
It’s hardly business as usual in Leadville, Colorado right now. Restaurants are closed, kids are home from school and people are struggling to navigate the challenging circumstances that COVID-19 has brought to our small mountain community.
Despite all of this, Leadville Race Series Retail Manager, Kelsey Conine-Wood, came up with a way to breathe a little life into downtown Leadville. What started as a small way to brighten up the storefront of the Leadville Race Series store quickly picked up momentum and brought out the best of people’s spirits in the Leadville community.
“I’ve lived in Leadville for 7 years but I’ve been coming here my whole life. I’ve never seen the town like this. I wanted to find a small way to give people something to smile about, and something to look forward to.”
“I started small, ordered some paint and decided to decorate the front of the store. A few people drove by and waved and honked. They smiled at me! I thought that if I challenged other business owners in town to do the same, it could really take off.”
And take off, it did! Kelsey distributed supplies to business owners, who quickly got to work. Within a couple of days, as many as a dozen businesses began to paint and decorate their storefronts with positive, inspirational messages. Messages like, “Leadville Strong,” “We Love Leadville” and “Thank You Frontline Workers” quickly adorned the storefronts up and down Harrison Street.
“I’m really proud of Leadville taking this to heart. People are doing the best they can to stay positive right now and it feels amazing to see smiles on people’s faces as they get out and about. It’s a small way to give people something to look forward to.”
While Harrison Street may not have the hustle and bustle of a normal sunny Saturday, Leadville locals are still getting out to walk their dogs and absorb some fresh air and sunshine as the snow begins to melt and the sights and smells of Spring start to fill the air. Kelsey’s art project has made the town a brighter place, and given the community something to smile about.
The Leadville community has rallied around one another in a multitude of ways since the lockdown started. Recently, an online community auction was launched which raised nearly $50,000 in two weeks by selling gift cards, art, and a multitude of goods and services from local businesses, injecting some much needed stimulus into Leadville’s local economy.
Kelsey acknowledged that the community is coming together like she’s never seen before. Recently, in a Leadville relief group on Facebook, a family posted that they were struggling to feed their pets, and within an hour people from the community stepped up to get dog food on their doorstep.
Despite everything that’s happened in these last few months, the community of Leadville continues to stand strong in support of one another. For a town that has been through tough times before, it’s no surprise to see our resilience shine bright during this pandemic. The momentum built around Kelsey’s art project was just one small example of how tight-knit this community is and it gives us hope that Leadville will be stronger than ever when this pandemic subsides.