A “Keep Your City Smiling” box created by the team at The SnapBar. (Keep your city smiling photo)

Sam Eitzen’s Seattle-based photo and video booth startup The SnapBar is dedicated to making people smile at hundreds of events and parties. With this industry decimated by the coronavirus outbreak, the company, like many others, is spinning to try to stay alive – and make people smile.

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Eitzen and his team created Keep Your City Smiling, a new company that aims to keep its people going while helping small businesses survive. The idea is gift boxes packed with five to seven local items made by struggling companies in the Seattle area.

A Keep Seattle Smiling Box, for example, costs $ 75 and contains products from different categories, including flavor (snacks, chocolate); Art (stickers, cards); Beverages (coffee, tea); Lifestyle (candles, notebooks); and skin care (lotions, soaps).

Boxes contain items from local vendors, including snacks and art. (Keep your city smiling photo)

Boxing for Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are slated for the coming weeks after they gain a foothold in Seattle and prove the concept works. They also work with corporate accounts in other cities across the US to bulk orders for custom gift boxes.

Vendors Keep Your City Smiling works with include Hey Atlas Creative, Gig Harbor Candy Company, Riverdance Soapworks, San Juan Sea Salt, Girl Meets Dirt, Olympic Candle Company, and Storyville Coffee. Eitzen said the list is growing fast and they hope to partner with as many companies as possible.

Keep Your City Smiling says it can do corporate branding on cardboard boxes. (Keep your city smiling photo)

The SnapBar, which Eitzen started with his brother in 2012, grew aggressively from around 2015 and has 18 full-time employees and around 30 part-time team members who share photo experiences at events in markets such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, USA, USA, USA. Los Angeles and Austin.

“We expected 140 to 160 events this March. That would translate into sales of $ 180,000 to $ 200,000, ”said Eitzen. “On March 6, a total of about 99 events were planned for the month (we usually book many events at the last minute). So far 65 cancellations have been canceled and the bookings for that month, April and May just haven’t been received, and now even the summer is affected. “

The SnapBar was able to complete about 20 to 30 events in the first week of March before the government settled the events.

The SnapBar team. (Keep your city smiling photo)

So far, the company has been able to keep its entire team. Eitzen and his co-founder cut their salaries in half, and other members of the leadership volunteered for their own pay cuts. They have negotiated cheaper rents for office space and are doing everything possible to extend their runway to around six to nine months if possible.

“We’re not there yet and will take more drastic measures if necessary, but minimizing costs and generating a possible cash flow will help!” Said Eitzen via email. “We don’t know when personal events will come back, so we have to twist and be creative until they do.”

Eitzen said they are trying other things to keep the SnapBar team busy, including rolling out the online photo booth software for virtual events over the next two weeks. They have also launched their first “mega sale”, with which customers can pre-order the Selfie Stand product from The SnapBar for a discount of up to 50 percent and use it at any time this year.

“We’re doing everything we can to support spending and generate income at a time that just isn’t looking good for the personal events industry,” said Eitzen. “We sincerely hope that the economic impact on small businesses is a ‘speed bump’ that we can all overcome together without bottoming out.”

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