INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An organization founded to combat discrimination after RFRA is again declaring the state open for business.
On Thursday, Open For Service launched its first smartphone app.
They originally started with putting blue stickers on businesses.
“The value in having the sticker is starting that conversation and really proving that we believe in what we’re doing,” said Josh Driver, the founder of Open for Service.
Driver says they launched the organization in an effort to keep Gen Con here after they threatened to leave over this law. And now a year a half and 10,000 businesses later, they say their work still isn’t done.
“The message is everybody’s money looks the same,” said Doug Stephenson, the owner of Downtown Comics.
The comic book store on Market Street was one of the first to put the blue sticker on its door.
“First of all, we’re a small business we can’t afford to judge people and be selective but second of all, it’s not the right thing to do anyway,” said Stephenson. “I think a lot of small businesses were wanting to show and to give a physical reassurance to people that hey, you can come into my place.
“It has grown out in every direction,” said Driver. “There hasn’t been another community to mobilize or come together the way that we did.”
The blue stickers are staying on doors. The app allows people to search their directory. Businesses that are “open for service” are located with a red hearts.
But Driver says they’ve also been able to steer the conversation away from the controversy.
“I didn’t ever expect to have to consider to build a directory and now we’re talking about ways to educate people and ways to start a new discussion about discrimination and educate people on the LGBT community,” he said.
For the launch, Mayor Joe Hogsett declared Thursday “Open for Service Day.”
The app is available for Apple and Android devices.
The organization was also able to give a $30,000 donation to the small business mentoring group, SCORE.