Jake McKenna, known to many as Jake of All Trades and the leader of Jake's Small Business Alliance, is continuing his mission to bring local small businesses together through a mural project at Front Row Sports Bar and Grill in Ocoee.
It all started with the Facebook header on the business alliance page.
McKenna works to create a collage of business cards and logos to use for the header and then raffles off the positions in order to offset the costs associated with the events held for the involved small businesses.
"Since the start of the alliance, I have used about $3,600 out of pocket for all sorts of necessary expenses," McKenna explained. "So I definitely wanted to find a way to prevent that. The raffles helped and I even had a little money left over which I then decided to start to donate to select small charity organizations. I was worried that if I kept the money, it would compromise the integrity of the group and what it stood for."
The alliance, which we told you about here, aims to bring business owners together so that they can recommend each other to their own clients, help to ease the stress of the search for the needed service and improve the experience clients have with small businesses.
"Since I've started the group, I'm proud of the effect I'm seeing the group has had on many business owners and the relationships we all have formed over the last few months," McKenna said. "I wanted to find a way to make Front Row feel as welcoming as possible to everyone in the group...the same way the Lewis family welcomed and supported my small business."
That's when the art project took off.
After discussion with Front Row owner and friend Jordan Lewis, McKenna began to create a centralized wall with the alliance name painted at the top and the small businesses and charities painted beneath.
McKenna started the project only four weeks ago and has spent about 20 hours a week, on top of his normal full-time business obligations, painting the wall to include organizations such as A Heart to Give, Premiere Power, Andrew's Handy Services, Sky-T Stables, CFL Powerwash and West Orange on the Go.
McKenna is also partnering with Re: Image Printing Company, formally West Orange Photo & Digital, on Dillard Street to expedite prints and coordinate with each business owner to assure the images are top quality.
He said his ultimate goal with the project is to provide the means to grow the alliance and have more funds to contribute to the missions the members plan to take on as a group.
Many of the members will volunteer in the future with Ray Peeples from Ray Peeples Ministries and the alliance will be one of the sponsors at the Central Florida Chili Cookoff in February, thanks to the opportunity and funds the wall has already provided.
"My ultimate goal is to help the community and let all of our clients see that we are not just running businesses and collecting checks," McKenna said. "We want to give back as much as we can. I hope that my giving heart becomes contagious to the rest of the alliance so that we can make a big difference. I love this group and the way we come together. We really have something special here."
For more information on Jake's Small Business Alliance and how to get involved, click here.
Those who have a small business in the West Orange area who would like their wall sponsorship to generate revenue to help the business, should contact McKenna at (386) 523-4166.