The current COVID-19 pandemic has many people reeling as they adjust to life under such uncertain circumstances. Throughout it all, however, people have been coming together to help one another.
Local business Two Skirts, which opened its Main Street boutique in 2001, recently donated $7,600 to the Telluride Regional Medical Center, thanks to a two-month fundraising effort. The donation was the result of “Telluride” sweater and hat sales, which were priced at $150 and $45, respectively, as Two Skirts donated 10 percent of each purchase to the medical center while San Miguel County’s stay-at-home orders were in place. Peter Russell, a sales representative based in California, matched the 10-percent donation with Moussy jeans sales as well, generating approximately $1,000 to the cause. Liza Thornton, a former Telluride resident, also contributed.
Two Skirts managing owner Kristin Holbrook said she had “to get creative” after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered that all state ski resorts shut down in mid-March. With stay-at-home orders in place, Holbrook and her neighbors, including local nurse Betsy Muennich, started a group chat and would wave to each other from their respective driveways in the evening when Muennich would be returning from work.
“She would stay inside her home to be safe, and text us the latest COVID facts and stats and ways to stay safe and answer our burning questions,” Holbrook said. “Here texts would read ‘home from work, showered the germs off, pajamas on, collapsing on the couch with the fam.’ One day she texted us that she did 521 blood draws in a day! She and some other neighbors also started a drive to collect oxygen concentrators for the breathing impaired, so I was inspired to do something as well.
Having to adapt to the public health orders, Holbrook focused on moving her business online and supporting the medical center’s COVID-19 response fund, which helps cover extra staff hours, additional staff, supplies, meals, bilingual translation efforts and communications, among other efforts. For more information, visit tellmed.org/support. Kate Wadley, the medical center’s director of philanthropy, also coordinated the fundraiser, and Holbrook happened to have a large supply of the “Telluride” sweatshirts.
“I had the idea that anyone who loves Telluride would want to support this effort with something that says Telluride. I order them in quantities of 100 in multiple colors,” Holbrooke said. “ … It was a way to generate sales for me and generate money for the fight against COVID in my town.
She added that closing unexpectedly seemed “devastating” at the moment, but she quickly refocused.
“It seemed like a win-win. I had a Telluride product to sell and a Telluride cause to support,” she said.
While the impacts of the pandemic were unexpected, the hometown support wasn’t necessarily.
“I was overwhelmed by the response,” Holbrook said. “I knew people loved Telluride, but this reaction was amazing. I was in the store at the crack of dawn everyday shipping out sweaters. Then I ran out, but instead of ending the fundraiser, I ordered more sweaters. Since they are custom made, the earliest I could get them was over a month out. The company, Ellsworth and Ivey, squeezed me into their next production. I had to ask customers to pre-purchase their ‘Telluride’ sweaters and they had no problem with that. And I ran out again, and put in another order for June.”
Two Skirts is slowly reopening to in-person business, like most in town, opening for a couple hours each day. Facemasks are required, Holbrook said. Appointments are also available by contacting the store. For more information, visit shoptwoskirts.com.
Two Skirts has a history of supporting the Telluride community. In 2019, the store gave over $50,000 in merchandise and monetary donations to local nonprofits. Holbrook said she’s open to organizing another sweater fundraiser if there are still needs at the medical center. The store also will be holding its annual “Clutch for a Cause” summer fundraiser, which raises money for the San Miguel Resource Center. There also plans to host a sidewalk sale once the store is fully reopened.
“I’m excited to see what the town comes up with in terms of in-street business operations for the summer,” she said. “It will be a different summer, but I think with all the local and second homeowner support we will survive it.”