Bryan “Alf” Grzegorczyk livestreams from local businesses, clockwise from left, Twinkle Twinkle Little Store, Sanford’s Grub & Pub, Cowboy Jones Carpet Cleaning and Bread Basket Bakery, across Cheyenne. Grzegorczyk, the founder of Thankful Thursdays, has paired up with Corey Lynn Loghry of Lynn Buys Houses to support local businesses during the pandemic by livestreaming via Facebook in hopes of bringing extra attention to local business. Courtesy

CHEYENNE – When Corey Loghry of Lynn Buys Houses saw how the community came together after a Facebook plea from Dad’s Donuts and the Boys Brew, she realized the power social media can have for local businesses that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to make a bigger impact, Loghry enlisted the help of Thankful Thursday’s eccentric founder, Bryan “Alf” Grzegorczyk, of Alf’s Pub. Now, the pair are livestreaming from a different local business every day, providing financial support and encouraging the community to shop local.

“Originally, our goal was just to highlight these businesses, because Alf and I thought that if we could put a face to a business and their story, kind of like Dad’s Donuts did, it would resonate with people and they would understand the struggle of small business right now,” Loghry said.

But when they began highlighting businesses, 
the financial donations began rolling in for shops and restaurants that were struggling. The notable Cheyenne fundraising duo quickly switched gears to work out how best to distribute these funds while promoting local businesses.

Getting the ball rolling, Thankful Thursday sponsors agreed to put $10,000 worth of donations toward the initiative, which is called Small Businesses
 the Heart of Cheyenne. Since the kickoff, local businesses and residents have
 contributed an additional $40,000 that will go directly back to the small business community.

A new business is highlighted each weekday, and they receive a $200 donation, as well as a livestream on Facebook that encourages residents to support their business. If a resident shows up and makes a purchase or a $5 donation, they’ll be entered in a $200 cash drawing. Five winners are randomly selected for the prize money at the end of each week.

“Unless you’re Amazon, everybody’s struggling right now. And so the amount of selflessness has been amazing,” Loghry said. “A lot of businesses have donated, and those businesses themselves are struggling.”

Even given the current situation, Grzegorczyk said a number of business owners have offered to help, “because they know that when the community comes back, their business will do better if all the other businesses are doing good.”

Within 24 hours of launching the project, 170 local businesses reached out to participate in the livestreams.

On Thursday, Grzegorczyk and Loghry visited Twinkle Twinkle Little Store, a shop at 3344 Ridge Road that sells wellness items like crystals, body scrubs and bath bombs. Having just opened in April, owner Patricia Miller said it’s been difficult, especially since they had to postpone their grand opening event.

“There has been a couple people who have already stopped in today,” Miller said Thursday morning after the livestream ended. “A lot of people just don’t know that we’re here.”

At each highlighted business, residents can also
buy $25 raffle tickets to win a car donated by Big O’ Tires. For the past couple years, owners Jack and Jamie Floyd have given away a car to a single mother in need, and last year, they gave a car to Thankful Thursday to help a local nonprofit.

When the pair heard what Grzegorczyk and Loghry were up to, they decided to donate another car to raffle off and help the cause.

“We thought, ‘Wow, what an opportunity to give back to small businesses – the very people that have helped Thankful Thursday grow,” Jamie said during the livestream at Twinkle Twinkle Little Store.
The car will be raffled off July 1, and the money raised will then be dispersed to businesses in need. You can also donate funds through PayPal at PayPal.me/thankful
thursday or by mail or drop off to Lynn Manages Houses at 700 E. 19th St. You can make checks out to Thankful Thursday.

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter at @MargaretMAustin.

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