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Fundraiser For Downtown Businesses.
A BIG shout out to everyone who supported us during last week's DOPalooza. THANK YOU, we feel so loved! This week we want to help pay it forward with a fundraiser to support local businesses just like the ones who sponsored us last week. We hope you will join us and Downtown Orlando in supporting those who need your support in our Downtown Orlando community by making a contribution or sharing our Facebook fundraiser page to help spread the word.  At the end of the week we will draw four donors to assist us in selecting the recipients of the funds raised.  The funds will be divided equally and will support one Downtown Orlando business in each of these four categories: Bar/Nightclub, Restaurant, Salon, and Retail. And double bonus, each of the four donors drawn will receive a gift bag filled with local goodies from Discover Downtown's gift shop.  As always, thank you for your support.

PSST! Today is the last day...

Thank you for your support!

A positive story in times of difficulty is for us a breath of fresh air. And when we learned that one of our fellow DOP members has taken not-so-optimal situation and pivoted their strategy into a positive outcome, it made us so happy that we wanted to share it with you. This week DOP team member Molly Antoon caught up with DOP member, Dean Caravelis with Blezoo to discuss resiliency during the era of COVID.

Molly: Living through a pandemic like this affects everyone differently. What has surprised you the most over the last six months?

Dean: I’ve never had a stretch of time feel like an eternity, but I would say that the last six months have felt like a year or two. I also never thought I would shave my head again, but I’ve done that since March and, honestly, it has brought back some college nostalgia even though I don’t think it’s the best look for me.
Molly: How has office life at Blezoo changed during COVID-19? Have any of the roles of your staff shifted?

Dean: We haven’t been in the office since the 2nd week of March, but since we’ve always been set-up fully on the cloud with MacBook laptops our work has been seamless. Although our roles have not shifted much, I would say the biggest shift has been in what we sell and how much harder we have to work on the back end to ensure that factories are open, stock is available and that people can actually receive a delivery at the address they have designated. I know that when the pandemic started a lot of us thought it was going to be a ’slow down’ but in many ways, for me personally, my work hours have ramped up. I have felt everything from optimism, hope, excitement, depression, frustration and everything in-between in the last 6 months.

Molly: Did any of the changes you made to your business during COVID-19 end up leading to positive outcomes?

Dean: Since we create solutions for our customers, instead of finding customers for our solutions, we have an extremely flexible company. Around March, our customers started asking us for PPE-related products, and since events and all in-person gatherings went away overnight, we simply listened to what our customers needed and began providing that. This helped us bridge the gap in lost sales, and it allowed me to keep my entire staff at full pay. The most positive outcome was that we were able to deliver much-needed supplies by using our supply chain.

Molly: I heard a little bit about Blezoo's new "experiences" you are planning to roll out in the near future. Can you explain a bit about what these "experiences" are and what they mean for the future of marketing during a pandemic?

Dean: We love creating high impact mailers. With the high demand for virtual events and remote learning, there has been a really big demand for this recently, and we’ve been able to flex our creative muscles. We used to call these types of mailers ‘campaigns', but during the pandemic, I decided to re-brand them into something people understand, and this is how “Experience-in-a-Box” was born. Everyone wants an experience, and we think that with our process, creativity and pedigree we can deliver that to your favorite customers.

Molly: Your innovative marketing at Blezoo is really inspiring. Do you have any advice on resiliency for businesses who are trying to overcome obstacles during this time?

Dean: I would say that if anyone says, “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work,” you should remove them from the Zoom chat and move forward with trying again. This is your time to experiment, to challenge everything, and to create a vision for what the world will look like post-COVID. If you don’t have a vision, and you aren’t trying new things, then you are at the mercy of the waves that are coming at you.

Thank you, Dean for sharing your story with us!

*If you have a story you would like to share with the DOP community, please let us know.


Check out the new podcasts, quick reads and tunes I put together for this week. Hit me up if you have any suggestions or want to do a guest playlist takeover. Enjoy!

The Daily
The Day That Shook Beirut
"A mangled yellow door. Shattered glass. Blood. A devastating explosion of ammonium nitrate stored at the port in Beirut killed at least 135 people and razed entire neighborhoods on Tuesday. This is what our correspondent in the Lebanese capital saw when the blast turned her apartment “into a demolition site” — and what happened in the hours after. Guest: Vivian Yee, our correspondent based in Beirut. Background reading: As the shock of the blast turns to anger in Lebanon, this is what we know so far about the explosion. In a land conditioned by calamity, Vivian wrote about what it felt like to emerge from the debris into the kindness of strangers and friends."

The Weeds
The Stimulus Standoff
"Jane, Dara, and Matt on the congressional deadlock over economic aid. Resources: “The jobs aren’t there”: Why cutting off enhanced unemployment benefits would leave workers in the lurch" by Li Zhou, Vox "Senate GOP Coronavirus Bill Has Some Good Provisions but Needs Serious Work" by Adam Michel, Rachel Greszler, Lindsey M. Burke, & Brian Finch, Heritage Foundation "The Zombie Reaganism Trap" by Peter Spiliakos, National Review White paper."

The Indicator from Planet Money
Why Your Internet Sucks
"We answer two questions today: Why is American internet so bad? And why was the unemployment benefit extension set at $600?"

Quick Reads. 
The Economist
Employees and employers both face trade-offs as offices reopen

Many Americans Are Convinced Crime Is Rising In The U.S. They’re Wrong.
But their fear makes everyone less safe.

Harvard Business Review
Conquer Your To-Do List With This Simple Hack

MIT Sloan Management Review
The Rising Frugal Economy
To build new industry value chains that benefit people, society, and the planet, we need a new economic operating system.

Music (Festival) Wish List
Smokin From Shootin | My Morning Jacket
Elevators (Me & You) | OutKast
Hey | Pixies
Take It To The Street | Rebirth Brass Band
Hey Mami | Sylvan Esso
Ritual Union | Little Dragon
Rose Quartz | Toro y Moi
New Noise | Refused
Enfilade | At The Drive In
Sweeter (feat. Terrace Martin)

Virtual Golden Brick Awards Coming August 17!
Join us August 17th through the 21st for the first-ever virtual Golden Brick Awards, sponsored by Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center.  Registration is now open, and additional details are below on how you can participate in this unique week-long celebration of projects that ignited our city with excitement and purpose during 2019.

GBA Week Details.

  • Register today (you will receive links for each day's events as we get closer) or visit our Facebook page for additional details
  • Each day three awards will be presented through a specially curated Zoom event hosted by Josh Wyche
  • Each Zoom event will be held at 12:00 PM and last approximately 1 hour
  • GBA Week will culminate on Friday, August 21 as we announce the winners for the Awards of Excellence and showcase the Downtowner of the Year award recipient

Nominated Projects.
For a recap of all the nominated projects, visit our social media channels or our website for a summary and image of each project in the running for 12 award categories. But be sure to check back often as we will be continuously posting up until GBA Week.

Mark your calendar.

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