Small Business Love


Article by Anna Huff

Photography by Anna Huff

If you’ve ever met a small business owner you know how passionate they are about their business. 

Quite literally, they pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their businesses day in and day out. Similarly, their dedication to the community and surrounding neighborhoods is unwavering. It’s easy to forget how much value they add to our communities until, well, we can’t just walk through the doors.

Kansas City Small Businesses

Lindsay Clausen is the owner of KC Wineworks. A Missouri winery nestled into the heart of the Crossroads district. She sees the magic in the face to face connections that take place within the brick and mortar businesses in Kansas City. She observes patrons (who come from all over the city and surrounding states) enter the KC Wineworks tasting room and spark up conversations with complete strangers. These are the unique and powerful connections she shares about.

“The authentic, in person, connections are what make Kansas City, Kansas City.” -Clausen

Abby Flores, owns a trio of shops in Kansas City, each carefully curated for women. She shares about the commitment and passion she has for her shops (Lady Bye, Coco, and Kate) and the Kansas City community that surrounds them.

"To try to articulate what my businesses are to me would likely mean I’d write a novel for you. But the short answer…this is what I do. This is what I love to do. It’s that expression, ‘entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.’ 100% truth. We take the risks, leaping into the unknown, because we believe something amazing waits on the other side. And it is my job to bring this vision to life. Seeing customers, serving customers, curating an experience for someone from start to finish - this is my lifeblood. To not be able to give every minute of my days to it right now is my Everest."

"Seeing customers, serving customers, curating an experience for someone from start to finish - this is my lifeblood." -Flores

The heartbeat of Kansas City is the hundreds of small businesses that make our city one of the best in America. Over the last ten years, we have watched this city transform and flourish with creative entrepreneurs providing us with some of the best shopping, entertainment, and eating around. 

As patrons, we thrive on the experiences we get by visiting the restaurants, shops, and theaters that Kansas City holds so dear. Likewise, the businesses rely on their patrons to continue to do what they love. It’s very much a symbiotic relationship. You cannot have one without the other. So these businesses that might be considered “non-essential” in our current world crisis, are critically essential to the heartbeat of our city.

Come Together to Support Small Business

It’s important, now, more than ever, that we come together (metaphorically, of course) and unite to support the small businesses that cultivate the incredibly unique community that we have in Kansas City. While we are all sharing the responsibility and doing our part in staying home, we can still support these businesses we love. 

I challenge (and urge) you to take a look at this list of five things you can do right now to support a small business and actually do one of them. The heartbeat of our city depends on us.

Engage on Social

As many businesses have shifted to an online strategy in the last week, this is likely one of the best (and free) things we can do for the small businesses we love. It only takes a few seconds to hit the like button, leave a kind comment, and share with your social community. Rather than just scrolling and taking in all the content you are seeing on social media these days, slow down, and look for the opportunity to engage and interact with those businesses. This does a few things for them - it lets them know their audience and customers are out there and it boosts their posts in the algorithm of that platform.

Leave a Review

Word of mouth is really the  best advertising for small businesses. When a friend recommends a place they love, we’re all more likely to give it a try. Leaving a review is a great way to let other people know exactly why you love the businesses that you do. Often times we don’t think to leave reviews until we have had a negative experience but it really means the world to business owners when they get these little glimmers of positive feedback from the customers they serve. This is actually a perfect time to sit down and intentionally review some of the businesses that you support.

Purchase Online

Don’t forget that our small businesses rely on the day to day sales of their customers. Brick and mortar businesses who may not have a large online shop depend on each and every person who walks through their shop doors. During a time when we are all staying at home (and for good reason) - we should do our best to support these shops by purchasing something online. No matter how small, each and every sale is what helps to keep the employees paid and business running. These business owners need their loyal customers in order to be able to continue to serve the community.

Buy a Gift Card

Buying a gift card is a great way to continue to support our local businesses even if you aren’t sure what you can buy right now. It can be something that you save for a sunny day when we are all able to commune and connect again. It might also be a great way to provide a gift for someone that loves the shop. By purchasing a gift card, you provide the businesses you love with a way to keep their doors open through a time when they are doing their part to help our entire society cope with this devastating pandemic.

Stay Home

The reality of this situation is that we all have to do our part in order to be able to move past this. What we are experiencing as an entire nation right now is unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. This has to collectively be our effort to fight against. When you stay home, you help to flatten the curve and allow the many who are on the front lines a fighting chance of getting beyond this.

Clausen would love nothing more than to open the tasting room and provide a space for her customers to come and unwind, but she knows what she must do in order to do her part in flattening the curve of this national pandemic. 

“I’m here if you need me,” she shared.

She wants to be able to support the community in this time of crisis and be sensitive to the fact that many are dealing with heavy burdens right now. 

While her tasting room may be closed for now, she is offering curbside pick up and has all of the wines she offers online at their website (www.kcwineworks.com). Find them on Instagram at @kcwineworks.

Be sure to visit each of Flores's iconic Kansas City boutique shops at their websites (www.ladybyekc.com, www.cocobrookside.com, www.shopkatekc.com) or over on Instagram (@ladybyekc, @cocobrookside, and @shopkatekc)

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