Unless you’re living under a rock (and if you are, so jealous), you will have been impacted in some deep way by the current pandemic — financially and/or emotionally. I’ll try to build some levity but referring to it as “a real doozy”. And when it comes to the world of livelihoods, there isn’t much argument that small businesses were hit the hardest. Some of us felt it ourselves, some of us watched our friends feel it, some of us found our hearts broken by local places we love having to close their doors.

Though many of us who could did our best to support when times got tough (and zero judgement to those who just weren’t able), these establishments, though beloved, were generally the first to be overlooked when the panic and stress took over our daily lives. Amidst the chaos of our normalcy being pulled out from underneath us all, one of the shining lights of this *insert a non-existent, all-encompassing word for how the pandemic all made us feel, especially during the full shutdowns* was the passionate creativity that some small businesses leaned into in order to give making it through the best damn chance.

One of our favorite, local small businesses did just that — where there was a will (and there is very literally a William), there was a way for them and it didn’t just come in the form of making sales. It was so, so much more.

Meet Thalken

Based in Lafayette, Colorado, we first met Thalken in a tiny space one town over on a visit before moving out to this wonderful state. At the base of a little set of stairs was a sign that read “Candles, Jewelry, and 1 Small Dog”. If you think anything would stop me from walking into a shop with that out front, you are very mistaken. I left with an armful of hand-crafted candles by the two owners, husband and wife team William & Hana, for myself and to gift to pretty much everyone I knew.

When we returned as full-time residents a year later, they had moved their darling shop (which is full of these candles I’m obsessed with, along with stunning jewelry made by Hana, and lots of fun local treats that makes it the best place to go for gifts — for yourself and otherwise) into a little stand-alone space in Lafayette’s equally quaint and cool Old Town. One small dog, Max, still there being a cutie welcoming committee.

So What Did They Do?!

When the pandemic hit, they had no choice but close their doors to the public, leaving William and Hana without their passion and livelihood as they knew it. But they didn’t take long to bottle up their endless creativity with their skill and kindness to create a way to keep their business moving as much as possible!

First things first, they kept their door physically closed but made it easy to order their products for front step pick-up at the shop and local delivery. Admittedly, there is something beautifully personal about going to your favorite shop and having a bag of goodies waiting for you outside the door.

If we are to talk about pure creativity based in next-level kindness, however, it is the introduction of Joy Packages that really made impact. Thalken used social media and their website to showcase “Joy Packages” — a curated bag of goodies from the shop that changed regularly and, get this, they would safely deliver to front doors. So in a time when we were all scared and missing human connection, these two darlings — armed in masks, kitchen gloves, and with killer dance moves — would deliver these packages from friends, family, and loved ones near and far around the area!

They shared the deliveries with Mission Impossible music and spy-like moves on their social media, where they were coined The Joy Bandits — two people on a mission to share smiles, keep us connected, and be a positive light in a very dark time. With a knack for a stunning harmony, birthday deliveries even got a bonus distanced serenade of their unique version of the Happy Birthday song to the recipient. CAN YOU STAND IT?!

If you talk to William and Hana, they’ll be honest that this time wasn’t devoid of tears and worry by a long shot. But they would wipe their tears away and know that the delivery they were about to make or the song that they were about to sing would probably mean more than anything in the world to the person receiving it. A light in a very dark sky. They kept themselves moving forward and kept all us watching, receiving, and giving moving forward too. They aren’t only kind, they are inspirational, and so many of us will be forever thankful for the efforts they made when things got tough.

Their doors are back open now (with some protocols in place), but they take order on their site that can be shipped too! So, while the holidays approach quickly, may we gently suggest that you try to shop small as much as you can this year and take a peek at all the wonderful things Thalken has to offer!

Co-Founder, Strategist & Content Specialist, Catapult Creative Co. (www.catapultcreative.co)