Rex R. Moore’s Rock River Bison Ranches lost 80% of its business within one week of COVID-19 restrictions taking place in Colorado. Not to let his business go down without a fight, Rex put out multiple pleas online asking for help. Within hours, over 24,000 people across the United States had shared Rex’s posts. Emails began flooding in with support and requests to purchase the excess inventory crowding his freezers.
Rex’s story was aired on television stations, placed in newspapers and in radio spots. Rock River Ranches had received so many orders in just a few days that it would take them at least a month to produce enough additional product to fill them. A call for help turned into a new business model, direct to consumer sales, and the resurgence of a nearly collapsed industry.
As COVID-19 restrictions closed restaurants’ ability to cater to large groups of people, the need for bison dropped instantly. Rex’s wife created an online ordering form that allowed the company to take individual family orders, instead of their usual restaurant clientele. On the first day of their Facebook plea for help, 950 orders had been placed. Rex was able to hire six new employees to support the increasing demand of his business.
“Don’t be afraid to use social media to ask for help, even if you have never really used it. Don’t be afraid to reinvent your company business model. The American People are good and want to help small business agriculture.”
Utilizing social media saved Rock River Ranches. Social media platforms were a brand new line of advertising for Rex, who had less than 200 friends on his rarely used Facebook page. Stepping into new territory, during these unprecedented times, offered Rex and his company a brand new way of operating.
The reinvention of Rock River Ranches allowed Rex’s company to thrive while offering the Colorado community, as well as many across the nation, bison products that would have been lost in the upheaval of COVID-19 on agriculture. Coloradans have come to the rescue of many small businesses and local producers across the state as COVID restrictions have changed the needs of many.
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To find out more about Rex and Rock River Ranches please visit: https://rockriverbison.com/
LiveWell Colorado is on a mission to transform Colorado’s food system to ensure that all Coloradans have equal and abundant access to nutritious foods from sustainable sources. Producers are crucial parts of the food system, and many are struggling because of COVID-10. LiveWell is taking multiple actions to support Colorado’s producers, including collaborating with the Colorado Farm and Food Systems Response Team as well as sharing COVID-19 stories from producers and others in the food system.