01 Feb Hotchkiss-based company brings the “Gift of Shade” to St. John, U.S. Virgin Island
Named a Colorado Company to watch in 2017, ShadeScapes Americas is not letting its small-town home-base hold it back or stunt its reach. For Jo Edmondson, founder and CEO, it’s about community.
Locating the ShadeScapes headquarters in Colorado’s rural North Fork Valley serves several purposes. Being able to locate in this scenic valley is reward itself for those that appreciate the slower pace, strong local ethic, small restaurants and cafes, and outstanding outdoor opportunities.The office and showroom is in a historic building the company was able to repurpose and update, bringing new activity to the town’s core.
It’s about community.
Enthusiasm for community is central to the company’s ethic, and the ShadeScapes’ Hotchkiss headquarters regularly serves as space pulling together local leaders, organizations, and businesses. Since inception the company has supported North Fork Valley cause by gifting umbrellas and shade solutions. The St. John Shade Project operates under the idea that “community knows no boundary.”
After the hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the Caribbean, the many small businesses there were left wondering how to recover in time to welcome back tourists and keep their employees working. Jo’s own history in the U.S. Virgin Islands provided an opportunity to put the company’s philosophy into action outside the valley.
There is still a challenging road ahead for St. John and other places in the Caribbean. But residents are resilient, and rebuilding is happening quickly. Still, the set-back is real and the St. John Shade Project hopes to bring the gift of shade as its contribution to this effort. From the St. John Shade Project news release about the trip:
“ShadeScapes Americas is bringing 50 umbrellas to island restaurants and schools. Originally, the company committed to donating 30, but found the need to be much greater and decided to cover the cost of bringing more umbrellas by donating 25% of the company’s outlet sales back to the project. ShadeScapes is handling all the logistics of getting the donation to the island, has recruited volunteers from both St. John and Colorado, and will install all of the umbrellas during the week of Valentine’s Day.” A list of some of the recipients can be seen HERE.
While the idea is simple, the endeavor itself—which involves renting a shipping container and barge space, customs, trucking and volunteers—is quite a production. And the idea behind it all is huge – that there is room for everyone, every business, every community to do a good deed.”
Shade brings us together
The St. John Shade Project is about one small community reaching out to another, peer-to-peer, as one small business helping other small businesses. The slogan of the Shade Project makes the case that every company, no matter its business, and every community, no matter the size, has a way to give back. For ShadeScapes, shade was the clear choice, as is the connection made through one community sharing with another.
“While it might not be obvious on the surface, the communities of St. John and the North Fork Valley have a lot of similarities,” says Jo Edmondson, “Both places enjoy a casual lifestyle and are fueled by the passions and hard work of small businesses. We all care deeply about our communities and are there to support one another through the good and the bad. When we started hearing from other Coloradans who love both places, it really brought to light the impact that travel makes on people and affirmed that giving has no boundaries.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands will need help to rebuild and get back on track after the dual blows from the 2017 hurricane season. Some of this help will need to come from the United States government. But there are lots of ways to connect, acting like sister communities, though mutual support and friendship too.
About St. John Shade Project
How does the St. John Shade project work?
• ShadeScapes Americas’ staff and volunteers will be on the island from February 6-18, 2018 to install the donated umbrellas at local restaurants and schools. ShadeScapes founder and CEO, Jo Moniak Edmondson, visited the island in December to identify recipients. And since, has been working remotely to collect specific needs and measurements for each of the 22 locations.
• A portion of proceeds from all ShadeScapes sales are going toward the purchase of additional umbrellas: 25% of purchases made on the Gift of Shade Outlet – www.giftofshade.com
• Stories of the recipient businesses, partners and volunteers are being told on the Gift of Shade website and shared on social media.
Follow St. John Shade Project
You can follow the St. John Shade Project over the next couple of weeks as it delivers the gift of shade to St. John on Facebook at @StJohnShadeProject on Instagram at @StJohnShadeProject and on Twitter @StJohnShadeProj
About ShadeScapes Americas
For 15 years, ShadeScapes Americas has been at the forefront of outdoor design by bringing beautifully crafted, architectural-grade umbrellas, cabanas and modern furniture to North American. From Belgium to South Africa, Quebec to Germany, ShadeScapes partners with international manufacturers to serve design professionals, businesses and residential buyers. With a web-based model that delivers stunning visuals, detailed product information and professional advice, ShadeScapes helps clients design extraordinary outdoor spaces. Named a Colorado Company to Watch in 2017. www.shadescapesamericas.