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Savage Apparel Co. announces merger with West Coast rivals

Savage Apparel Co., Five Ultimate, and ARIA Discs have come together to officially announce the launch of XII Brands. XII Brands now operates as the parent company of Savage and Five as well as ARIA, the disc company created by Five’s founders.

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Savage Apparel Co., Five Ultimate, and ARIA Discs have come together to officially announce the launch of XII Brands. XII Brands now operates as the parent company of Savage and Five as well as ARIA, the disc company created by Five’s founders. The name XII comes from the combination of Savage (known for its VII logo) and Five.

As two of the top apparel providers for Ultimate Frisbee teams, Savage and Five have a friendly but long-running rivalry that extends over a decade. With Savage on the East Coast and Five on the West, both companies have cultivated unique brand identities with devoted fans and followers across the globe.

The owners of Savage Apparel Co. (Todd Curran, Dan Curran, and Dan Lee) and Five Ultimate and ARIA (Zahlen, Xtehn, Vehro, Rohre, and Qxhna Titcomb) now share ownership of XII Brands, creating a mutual interest and investment in the success of the three companies existing under its wings. Savage continues to operate out of Richmond, Va., and Five and ARIA hold down their longtime headquarters in Seattle with current staff members remaining in place on both sides.

Savage, Five, and ARIA will continue to exist as distinct brands, but will share resources in order to grow stronger together and serve the community more effectively as a result. Each company’s sales and marketing teams and designers along with unique fabrics, cuts, and general company cultures will remain unique. Five and ARIA will continue to focus on Ultimate Frisbee, while Savage will continue expanding into other active markets such as disc golf, dodgeball, Spikeball, and quidditch.

In 2019, Savage Apparel Co. committed to greening their operations by introducing the GreenLine, a new generation of activewear made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The most significant change to note for Five Ultimate is that the company will also be transitioning to using recycled fabric developed specifically for their catalog. In addition, the goal is to move U.S. orders, which were previously produced overseas, to domestic production — at the XII headquarters in Richmond, Va. This means a drastically reduced carbon footprint for all domestic orders. Five and Savage are both working with partners in Canada, France, and the Philippines to produce international orders to reduce carbon emissions for those markets as well.

Savage founder Todd Curran will serve as the CEO of XII Brands. “Teaming up Five, Savage,  and ARIA is setting up XII Brands to be the number one company in Ultimate,” Curran says. “We’re prepared to provide top quality and service to the entire global Ultimate world.”

Former Five Ultimate CEO and XII Brands vice president Vehro Titcomb is equally excited. “So much business news these days is just lip service. This is different. This is about making Ultimate better. We’re ready for this next stage.”

ARIA co-founder and product engineer Zahlen Titcomb is all in on the new relationship as well. “I’m a big fan of scalability. The original vision of ARIA has always been to give the world a better Ultimate disc and a better approach to how we think business should be done. We’re really excited to team up as XII and leverage this new partnership, and future expansions, to deliver even more excellence and joy around the world through discs. Innovation is here, and it’s time to boost it.”

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City of Richmond announces Small Business Disaster Loan Program

The Richmond Economic Development Authority on Thursday created the Richmond Small Business Disaster Loan Program (COVID-19), which will offer interest-free emergency loans of up to $20,000 to small businesses within city limits.

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The Richmond Economic Development Authority on Thursday created the Richmond Small Business Disaster Loan Program (COVID-19), which will offer interest-free emergency loans of up to $20,000 to small businesses within city limits.

The program is intended to provide relief to small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Monies will go toward paying employee wages, empowering local, small businesses to continue operating and keep employees on their payroll.

“Small businesses have made Richmond the thriving cultural capital we love,” said Mayor Stoney. “They’ve been understanding, patient and selfless in adapting to the recent social distancing guidance, no matter the economic consequences for them. This loan program is one way we can help provide some relief and support in this tough time.”

The maximum loan amount for the program is six months of current employee wages or $20,000, whichever is less. Loan payments will be disbursed over six months.

Repayment of the loans will be deferred for six months, followed by 48 months of no-interest payments.

Small businesses interested in applying should fill out the application and provide the required documentation via email. The application will be available starting Monday, April 6.

Funding is limited. Applications will be considered in the order they are submitted.

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Ardent Craft Ales launches food bank for restaurant workers affected by closures, reduced hours

“The restaurant industry has been decimated by the COVID-19 virus and the country’s need to close or restrict public gathering spaces. We want to do our part to help the thousands of restaurant workers in Richmond and the surrounding area who have been laid-off, furloughed or are suffering from reduced hours,” said Tom Sullivan, Ardent’s co-founder.

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Ardent Craft Ales is teaming up with SyscoThe Holli Fund, and Digital Minerva to launch Ardent Helps, a food bank resource inspired by Harrisonburg-based Pale Fire Brewery to support restaurant workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

The food bank will start taking orders on Monday, March 30. All orders must be placed online at www.ardenthelpsrva.com. Orders will be packed and made available for pick up the next business day between 2-8 p.m. at Ardent Craft Ales’ taproom at 3200 West Leigh Street in Scott’s Addition. Orders may be placed seven days a week, with pick-up times scheduled during our operating hours of 2-8pm on Tuesday-Sunday.

“The restaurant industry has been decimated by the COVID-19 virus and the country’s need to close or restrict public gathering spaces. We want to do our part to help the thousands of restaurant workers in Richmond and the surrounding area who have been laid-off, furloughed or are suffering from reduced hours,” said Tom Sullivan, Ardent’s co-founder. “Pale Fire’s popup food bank concept connected with our brewery and community and we’re honored to be able to help the Richmond service industry.”

The Ardent Helps food bank will only be available to restaurant industry workers. However, it is not limited to Richmond residents, and all restaurant workers are welcome to place orders and pick up goods. Participants are asked to avoid stockpiling and take only what they immediately need. The program will last as long as it can safely continue to operate and donated items are available. Responsible sanitation and social distancing measures will be followed at all times.

A variety of perishable and non-perishable items donated by Sysco will be available. Ardent is also accepting both shelf-stable food donations to support this program and monetary donations to directly benefit affected restaurant workers via grants from The Holli Fund.

There is no cost to participate in Ardent Helps. Participants are asked to show their most recent pay stub to confirm eligibility upon pick up. Ardent’s taproom will remain open to the general public for to-go beer and merchandise purchases.

Learn more about the program at www.ardenthelpsrva.com.

Ardent Helps. Photo courtesy Ardent Craft Ales

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Bon Secours furloughs employees not directly associated with COVID-19 response

“Our most recent projections show sustained operating losses of greater than $100 million per month under the current circumstances,” CEO John Starcher stated in a letter to employees Tuesday.

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Bon Secours Mercy Health is furloughing all of its staff not working directly on the COVID-19 response efforts, it was announced on Tuesday. In a letter to employees, CEO John Starcher outlined the nonprofit’s current struggles and plan to reduce costs for the foreseeable future.

It reads, in full:

Like our foundresses before us, we’re answering a call to serve in a time of great need, when resources are scarce and entire communities are relying upon us. Our frontline caregivers are serving with compassion, professionalism and courage as we care for seriously ill and dying patients. While we have hope that effective treatments and vaccines will be developed for COVID-19, they won’t be available in the foreseeable future. Our responsibility is clear: as the virus continues to spread, Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH) must ensure that necessary care givers, support medical services and resources are available for the patients and residents who need our life-saving care.

With elective procedures and services canceled and unanticipated expenditures being directed to COVID-19 response activities, we’re facing hard decisions over the short term. Our resources – people, supplies and finances – must be dedicated specifically to responding to COVID-19. For that reason, associates who are not directly supporting COVID-19 response activities will be placed on furlough, a temporary layoff from work. For that reason, we’re taking three key steps today.

First, we’re implementing a hiring freeze for all non-critical care delivery positions, effective immediately. Second, wage increases are frozen, effective immediately. Third, associates who are not directly supporting COVID-19 response activities will be placed on furlough, a temporary layoff from work.

I appreciate the difficulty this action places upon thousands of our associates and their families. Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented for all health systems. Even though we were financially strong entering this crisis and are in a better position than many other health systems, our response to this pandemic has placed a tremendous financial burden on our ministry’s resources. Our most recent projections show sustained operating losses of greater than $100 million per month under the current circumstances.

While we’re actively working to model and anticipate the length of this crisis, we cannot accurately predict the duration of the pandemic. At this point, we can only learn from other countries that began seeing infection rates mere weeks before us. If we’re to ensure we can support the clinicians and provide resources necessary to care for pandemic victims – we cannot simply hope things will change, and we cannot wish the timing would be different – action must be taken now. That’s why some BSMH associates will be furloughed, and that’s why it’s happening quickly.

Here is high-level information about the furlough: affected associates will be paid for working through April 3, and then available PTO hours will be paid until depleted. Once all payments from BSMH stop, associates are eligible for recently enhanced state unemployment pay. In addition, the Bon Secours Mercy Health Foundation has generously donated $60 million to the BSMH Associate Hardship Fund, which will help associates facing serious financial challenges. Full details about the furlough process, including an extensive FAQ to help answer questions you may have, are available on the intranet.

This is a challenging time for everyone … for those working tirelessly at the bedside, for our health professionals and support staff fighting COVID-19 and those associates who will be furloughed. It is a time of fear and anxiety for people around the world as we pray for effective treatments and vaccines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please safeguard your health over the coming weeks and months. While we may not be able to visit in person with colleagues, friends, and family, never has it been more important to stay connected with others.

I’m thankful for you and all we’ve achieved together. Our ministry’s response to COVID-19 has been outstanding. Rest assured that even as we deal with the unique challenges confronting us, we’re adding to the knowledge and experience that positions Bon Secours Mercy Health as a leader in health care strategy and delivery. We will come out of this crisis an improved organization, positioning ourselves for an even brighter future.

I look forward to when we’re able to come back together as a ministry, reflect on our learnings and begin to write the next chapter that will help define our proud legacy for generations to come.

May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe.

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