Knowledge Center

Virtual First Friday

Downtown Ventures’ Virtual First Friday promotion boosted community support for creative-sector retailers affected by COVID-19 closures. When Downtown Colorado Springs’ monthly gallery hop was canceled, Virtual First Friday bridged the patronage gap, pushing online sales as well as social media attention.

In its first iteration, April 3, 2020, the promotion grossed $14,000 in just three hours for 16 retailers in Downtown Colorado Springs, with $6,000 additional revenue among retailers across the region. Several grossed higher sales than April of 2019, with 161 reported transactions and enthusiastic feedback from regular patrons as well as first-time customers. Web traffic at the Virtual First Friday hub showed 1,151 unique pageviews on the day of the event, with an average visit of 5 minutes.

This strong response was fueled by a $1,000 challenge grant from Bee Vradenburg Foundation, distributed as $50 matches on remote orders of $50 or more beginning at 5 p.m. (Challenge funds were distributed as microgrants for venues’ operating expenses.) The grant was exhausted within the first 5 minutes of the event, but purchases poured in steadily until the posted finish at 8 p.m.

Bee Vradenburg Foundation was so impressed by this outcome that they doubled their grant for the following month, matched by Downtown Development Authority. Subsequent Virtual First Fridays conducted in May, June, July and December brought in $70,834 in sales from over 520 transactions. These figures are based only on sales directly reported to Downtown Ventures – estimated impact is much higher. The program is credited with providing critical community support for a vulnerable sector of the local economy: “This program is one of the most valuable things to help us motivate our own customer base to support us,” said one retailer. “Thank you, thank you.”

Project Details

Virtual First Friday

Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs: Downtown Ventures


Marketing, Communications and Events
$100001 - $300000
Colorado Springs