ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Businesses in Olde Town Arvada turned their monthly Thursday Nite Bites into a fundraiser a little more than a week after a deadly shooting killed two men, using ticket sales to support both families and a local mental health nonprofit. The group of stores and restaurants also wanted to strengthen the bond their community has maintained during this latest tragedy and since before the pandemic.
“I think everyone was shaken, staff, community, it was tough, you don’t think this is going to happen in your backyard,” said Josh Schwartz, a part-owner of The Bluegrass Lounge and The Gold Line Grab-N-Go. “I’ve never felt a sense of community like I have with Arvada, and it’s a big part of the reason why I moved here.”
The proceeds from tickets sold on Thursday will go to the family of fallen Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley through the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation and the family of Johnny Hurley through their GoFundMe account. A donation will also be made to Mental Health for Jefferson County from the money earned by the event.
“We saw people coming back out, I talked to a number of people who made it a point to come to Olde Town just so they could let the businesses know that they were still getting all the support that they needed,” said Joe Hengstler, the executive director of Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District.
There will be other fundraisers to support these families and the summer will extend their opportunities as a neighborhood to bring the community together. Changes because of COVID restrictions like temporarily closed streets have become popular and will likely remain well after the pandemic. Another way to encourage events in the business district and invite people from near and far to spend more time at shops, cafes, and bars.
“Olde Town is back open and we want to see you down here, we don’t want this tragedy to define us moving forward,” Hengstler told CBS4 on Thursday. “So there’s just a ton of great things that are happening and we’re looking forward to continuing to welcome back people to Olde Town.”
The campaign for Arvada Strong will also continue, there is already merchandise that will also support family charities from the shooting available at The Gold Line Grab-N-Go. The Bluegrass has also decided to make a donation for every sale of special drink on their menu named for police.
“Being in Olde Town for six years, we have felt their presence and that’s why we feel that urge to give back to them,” Schwartz told CBS4.