Last Friday, Grogg’s Home Services announced that they were reallocating $25,000 of their marketing budget to support local, independently-owned small businesses within their service area through a matching gift card program.

“Over the last few weeks we have come to realize there are some industries that could use some support,” the company announced in a Facebook post that quickly went viral. “Grogg’s Home Services wants to start a movement to help.”

The program aimed to help restaurants, hair and nail salons, boutiques, massage therapists, and other businesses that had been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. To participate, residents were asked to purchase a gift card (up to $50) from a local restaurant, salon, or boutique and email the receipt to Grogg’s. Grogg’s promised to buy a gift card of the same value for the same business and mail it to the shopper, doubling the impact for the local business, until the $25,000 cap is met.

The promotion kicked off on Monday morning and within hours, the $25,000 limit had been reached.

Carma and Tim Hanlon, owners of Grogg’s Home Services since 1996

“It’s been crazy,” said Tim Hanlon, who owns and manages the company alongside his wife, Carma. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

Tim said the idea came from a challenge from another contractor. “I’m a member of a group called Service Nation, which is a group of HVAC contractors,” he said. “One guy from Michigan put out a challenge to all of the members of the group to give back this way.” Grogg’s put their own twist on the challenge, focusing on local, independently owned small businesses.

Now that the $25,000 limit has been met, Tim and Carma are challenging other local businesses to step up to help. “We’d love to see other local businesses step up and continue to pay it forward,” Tim said.

The couple said supporting local small business owners is important because they are local small business owners, too. “And we’re allowed to work, we’re an essential service,” said Tim, “but so many of our fellow businesses, our beauty salons, nail salons, massage therapists, and our restaurants can’t be open right now.”

So many of these businesses have supported us over the past fifty years, so we’re taking some of our marketing money and giving it back.

The promotion was also a fitting way to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, he said. “So many of these businesses have supported us over the past fifty years, so we’re taking some of our marketing money and giving it back.”

Founded in 1970 as Grogg’s Heating and Air Conditioning by Leon Grogg, the company was purchased by Leon’s daughter, Carma, and her husband in 1996. Although business has slowed during the pandemic, Grogg’s is still servicing homes in the community and employees are taking extra precautions.

“Our technicians are wearing masks, gloves, and shoe covers, and have plenty of hand sanitizer,” said Tim. In addition, Grogg’s is taking care to clean and sanitize their vehicles and office nightly and have taken steps to minimize all employee’s exposure to one another.

For the past two weeks, Grogg’s Home Services has also been partnering with Horner & Harrison to make cloth face masks for essential workers, volunteers, and community members in need. Each mask has a full-size pocket or ‘kangaroo pouch’ where MERV-13 filter material can be inserted to provide greater protection than the fabric alone.

Carma Hanlon and a volunteer prep materials for masks

Employees and volunteers at Grogg’s are preparing all of the materials – cutting the fabric donated by Horner & Harrison, cutting filters, pleating, and ironing. “It’s quite a process actually,” said Carma, who noted that their team can prepare about 100 masks in 8 hours. Materials are then distributed to local seamstresses who have volunteered to sew.

Those in need of a mask can submit a request through Grogg’s website. As of Monday, 125 masks had been distributed. Carma said their goal is to give out 500.

Tim and Carma said they are thankful for business owners like David Boone, who has himself been sewing masks while Horner & Harrison’s storefront is closed.

“This is a great community we live in,” Tim said. “Everybody is so close-knit and ready to help.”