Vail Valley-based business Be Good to People expands to Denver’s airport
EAGLE — Kris Wittenberg had two visions when she started Be Good to People: to have a space at Denver International Airport, and to have Justin Timberlake sing a song for the company.
One of those visions has come to pass.
The Eagle-based business recently opened a shop in Concourse B at Denver International Airport. That’s the home of United Airlines in Denver, and it’s exactly where Be Good to People owner Kris Wittenberg wanted to be.
A lot of Vail Valley visitors fly into Denver via United, and a good number of those visitors book a connecting flight on the airline to the Eagle County Regional Airport.
Wittenberg said there were other kiosk locations in other concourses available over the past several months. But, she held out for a spot to connect with United passengers.
The kiosk has been open just over a week — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week — and Wittenberg said the early reception has been beyond what she’d hoped.
“It’s so exciting,” Wittenberg said. “It’s getting real now.”
The Be Good to People story started in 2008 in Eagle. On a lunchtime excursion to the grocery store, Wittenberg ran across someone rude. Although now she doesn’t remember details of the incident, frustrated, Wittenberg returned to her downtown Eagle office, threw her hands in the air and exclaimed, “Why can’t people be good to people?”
Starting with a shirt
The business was born at that moment, although it didn’t sell its first products until 2009, the result of Wittenberg simply ironing “Be Good to People” on a T-shirt and wearing it around town.
Just that started a buzz, Wittenberg said. Every time she’d wear the shirt, someone would ask where they could be purchased.
Wittenberg and her husband, August, already own SayNoMore! Promotions, a company that supplies businesses with custom-printed items from pens to T-shirts to golf tees.
The two businesses are separate, although Be Good to People did use Say No More for its products. All those products, though are simple: they’re black and white, with a simple message: Be Good to People. And 5 percent of all Be Good to People revenue goes into kindness-based philanthropy. The Be Good to People Foundation recently received its 501(c)3 nonprofit designation.
Over the course of nearly a decade, Be Good to People has had a website and a presence at the Vail and Minturn summer markets. The business for the past couple of years has also had a booth at the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market in Houston.
The company’s presence at the Houston market came thanks to a referral from a couple of customers who live in the city but are second homeowners in Vail.
Wittenberg said that’s the kind of reach Be Good to People has had thanks to the broad base of visitors to the Vail Valley. That exposure has also landed Be Good to People on “Good Morning America,” and a place in the pages of Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine. The Denver airport location has also already been featured on the morning show of Denver’s Channel 2.
Wittenberg believes Be Good to People’s simple message can have an effect on both users and people who see the products.
For wearers, the message serves as a reminder to stay on track.
“You can be positive, and then someone can be a jerk (to you) and ruin it,” she said. Having that message close by is a good reminder to stay centered, she added.
T-shirts of change
Wittenberg is a believer that Be Good to People’s simple message can help create behavioral change, helping remind people that being good to each other is simple.
“I love their message,” Vail Valley Partnership CEO Chris Romer said. “It’s a message we can all take to heart.”
And, Romer added, in a time when the next social media freakout seems just a click away, this is a good time for that message.
As the head of the region’s chamber of commerce, Romer said he’s also thrilled that Be Good to People is starting to spread out.
“What a great example of a business located in Eagle County that’s location neutral — they could be located anywhere — and how cool it is to see a local business expanding their footprint to the fifth-busiest airport in the country,” Romer added.
Now if someone who knows Justin Timberlake could get word to him …