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Shoppers ‘Pay What They Can’ With Colorado Retailer

Photos from Trek Light Gear

We’ve all grown accustomed to big, attention-stealing sales supported by inflated advertising budgets (and probably given in to them at some point). Colorado-based do-good small business retailer Trek Light Gear, which sells hammocks, blankets, t-shirts, and backpacks, is taking a different approach. 

Trek Light Gear blanket / Photo: Trek Light Gear

The small business is helping its customers through its Pay What You Can program, which features online discount codes ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent off applied at checkout. The goal is to make its products affordable to all during these challenging times and spread happiness in doing so.

Customers who need a discount greater than the five available options in this range are encouraged to email the retailer with the products they are interested in and a price that works for them. The company hopes to accommodate every request as it seeks to lessen costs for people. Those who have the means are asked to consider not using a code. 

Trek Light Gear is run solely by husband and wife Seth Haber – founder and CEO – and ‘Director of Happiness’ Heather Pallack. During a phone interview, Pallack spoke with Garden & Health about what the initiative, which began early this year, has meant to people and why the company decided to continue it.

“The response has been amazing,” said Pallack. “We’ve been able to help so many people who have been put in a really difficult situation this year.” “We decided to keep it [the initiative] for the holidays just because we knew that a lot of people were going to be put into tricky situations where they weren’t going to be able to afford Christmas gifts and so we wanted to make our prices as affordable as possible.” With great success, the initiative has continued into 2021.

Seth and Heather Pallack / Photo: Trek Light Gear

Pallack explained how heartwarming it has been to see  the number of people who have asked to purchase items to donate to others. She recalls a man who recently commented on one of the company’s Facebook ads saying he wanted to get a blanket for his son but couldn’t afford it. A woman then replied saying she’d like to purchase it for him, so Pallack gave her a discount to buy it.

“Just to see that pay it forward in kindness and how many people were coming out and wanting to help and give to strangers has been really, really special,” she emphasized.

Trek Light Gear has also created a ‘Pay It Forward’ Tip Jar which allows people to make monetary donations that go directly to supporting the ‘Pay What You Can’ program.

The goodness of Trek Light Gear’s initiative is reflective of the company’s larger mission to do all of the good it can. The company was founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 2003 by Haber with a “Feel Good. Do Good. Pass It On” mantra and an ultimate goal to “spread happiness and change the world.” In addition to the program, Trek Light Gear has lived up to its mission in many ways.

The retailer plants two trees around the globe for every hammock purchased through a partnership with Trees For The Future and has so far “planted tens of thousands.” The company also plants a tree for each regular purchase, Pallack notes. Each time one of Trek Light Gear’s Bindle Backpacks is bought, the retailer delivers a package of school supplies to a child in need through a Be The Change Volunteers partnership. Additionally, for every sale of its special edition Banana Hammock, Trek Light Gear donates $5 to the American Cancer Society to fund cancer research.

As Haber explains on the company’s ‘Happiness First’ page, “We don’t have shareholders or a board of directors to please, we’re just waking up each day and doing what we can to make a difference in this world – and we’re thrilled to have you along for the ride.”

Pallack says she hopes the ‘Pay What You Can’ program serves as a reminder that “small businesses do really care and that [they] are really trying to make a difference in the world.” 

“And I hope it just shows people happiness and kindness are real,” she added.

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