CELEBRATING RESILIENCY is the theme of both the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and of its local race partner this year, Fleet Feet.
The popular running shoe and supply store on Waters Avenue is the spiritual home of Savannah’s running community. But the unexpected 2015 death of Fleet Feet founder and owner Robert Espinoza—race director for the Race for the Cure Savannah last year—was a serious blow.
However, like the cancer patients and survivors the Race for the Cure seeks to help, they are also finding strength in adversity.
“His loss is still fresh in my mind. I’m so emotional this week. I’ve been doing really well up until the past few days, and it hit me again,” says Cookie Espinoza, Robert’s wife and co-owner of Fleet Feet.
“Robert was always the face of Fleet Feet. This has really put me in a different position. But I’m slowly getting used to it,” she says.
Even without Robert, this year Fleet Feet carries on the tradition, with staffer Chris Ramsey acting as this year’s Komen race director and Cookie as honorary chair of the Race for the Cure.
“This is different than a lot of races people participate in. People get dressed up. It’s a big celebration of life,” says Aileen Gabbey, Executive Director for Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia.
“This is a celebration of survivors,” agrees Cookie. “It’s not about us, it’s about them.”
Espinoza and Fleet Feet aren’t only involved with the Komen race this year, however. They and two other outstanding local efforts will be featured as part of the Soul Proprietors Film Competition, in which film crews tell the story of unique, community-oriented and socially aware entrepreneurship.
In their words, Soul Proprietors seek to “show the world who the faces are behind small businesses making big differences in the world. By providing real examples of how ordinary people can do extraordinary things, we hope to prompt a new generation of social entrepreneurs, community leaders and socially conscious individuals.”
This year, Soul Proprietors picked Fleet Feet, Service Brewing Co., and Local Farmbag. Three film crews—Kirutungo Productions, MadLaw Media, and McMahon-Bird—have five days, April 15-20, to shoot a short film about each business.
Soul Proprietor Films will unveil the winner with a screening April 28 at the Jepson. Proceeds go to the charity of choice of the winning film’s business.
Service Brewing’s charity is The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire, benefiting first responders. Local Farmbag seeks to benefit Union Mission. And Fleet Feet’s charity is the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Competing businesses can feature run-up events to promote the filming. For example, if running in the Race for the Cure isn’t your thing, also on Saturday Service Brewing will hold a tasting event featuring a food truck and tunes from DJ Jose Ray, and another event Monday at Crystal Beer Parlor with a six-beer tasting, benefiting The 200 Club.
As their name implies, the foundation of Service Brewing is charity, specifically veterans and first responders, and they feature a new charity every season.
“Every time we launch a new beer we announce a new charity. A dollar from every brewery tour goes to charity,” says Service Brewing Creative Marketing Director Meredith Sutton .
“As a brewery we’re dedicated to making great craft beer and to introducing people to great charities that help veterans and first responders. That’s really the image we always try to project,” says Kevin Ryan, CEO of Service Brewing.
“We met with The 200 Club and they mentioned that Paul Kennedy Catering have always been big supporters of theirs,” says Sutton. “So they’re going to be here Saturday with their food truck.”
One of the co-owners of Local Farmbag, Steve Howard, is also a partner in Cha Bella. The mission of Farmbag and Cha Bella’s is similar in that both are about “healthy, seasonal local food prepared simply,” Howard says.
The goal of Local Farmbag is to “work with local farmers and get their product from farm to front door. We usually pick up produce on Tuesday and have it delivered on Wednesday through Friday. That means most of what you’re getting is 48 hours or less out of the ground,” he says.
Howard says Local Farmbag works with a lot of local charities, but Union Mission seemed a particularly good fit for this Soul Proprietors film.
“We do a lot of charity work, and we know the folks over at Union Mission. Their operation seems really cool and we may do some culinary classes over there soon,” Howard says.
Sutton says at Service the film crew will likely shoot scenes while they are brewing and canning beers. “We want to do some fun things to get people excited about The 200 Club,” says Sutton.
“It’s mostly up to the personality of the filmmakers. And we won’t know which crew we’re getting until we all find out at the meet and greet this week at Cha Bella,” says Sutton.
“And then we’re all on the same time clock,” says Cookie Espinoza, who will mostly host Fleet Feet’s film crew during the Race for the Cure itself. cs