When you shop locally, you do far more than enjoy a convenient trip to the store. You’re actually investing in the wellbeing and longevity of your community. This stimulates the local economy, creates demand for jobs in the area, and supports real people who have devoted their lives to building their businesses from the ground up. Shopping small also decreases carbon footprints, as people either buy online or commute to local stores by foot, bike, or a quick bus ride.
These are just a few of the reasons we love to shop small. This is why in 2022, we launched our Shop Local campaign where we shined a spotlight on this very pastime. We offered Florida-based businesses the chance to win a professional photoshoot, a custom billboard, and a digital ad in a local publication. The content went live leading up to the holidays this past December. Why? To emphasize the importance of shopping locally and to give SMBs a leg up when competing against companies with bigger scale marketing budgets.
The three Shop Local winners, Art of Collab, the Historic Hampton House, and Patriot Welding Supply are exceptional examples of real people with real missions who work day and night to bring their business visions to life. And they are making a real impact on their communities. Let’s get to know them.
Art of Collab
Art of Collab is a collective of local artists, creatives, and curators who build community through art and host collaborative programming in Orlando. They bridge access to public and visual art within communities of color. The self-described “studio without walls” brings engaging art to spaces where visual art is often rare or unseen. They collaborate with other community organizers and collectives to create art as a team.
They’re known for their pop up style events where they invite local artists to come together to discuss what they need, what they want to see, and what they’re working on. Thanks to Art of Collab, Orlando residents can enjoy high-quality art in their own backyards. Founder and artist Mariah Román explains that for her team, “wherever there’s a wall, there’s a canvas”.
The Historic Hampton House
The Historic Hampton House is Florida’s last remaining Green Book Hotel. In the 1960’s, it was where black performers like Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis turned when the show was over. It was also a magnet for prominent athletes like Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson. It wasn’t just a celebrity hangout, though. It was a hotspot for people of the neighborhood on weekend evenings and after church on Sundays. And while the inn was known as the “social center for the South”, it was also the site for weekly meetings by the Congress for Racial Equality.
After closing its doors in 1976 and an almost 30 year hiatus, a massive restoration project broke ground in 2015 thanks to the committed focus and efforts of preservationist Dr. Enid Pinkney. The restored and reopened Hampton House functions as a museum and community center, has an onsite cafe and jazz club, and hosts sponsored events. Then and now, the Historic Hampton House is a valuable piece of Miami’s Black history.
Patriot Welding Supply
Having worked in the welding supply industry for over 30 years, Leo Hernandez and his wife Jennie recently decided to embark on a new and exciting venture. They saw a real need in their hometown for more welding resources. So they grabbed life by the reins, took their knowledge of and passion for welding, and translated it into a fruitful Sebring-based welding supply business. They opened their doors in March of 2022, and have been building their business ever since.
Jennie reflects, “When we invite people to shop local with us, we offer them more than just another store to shop in. We offer them a trusted relationship they can depend on to provide them with the best quality, local products and prices. When our customers have the right tools and equipment to do their job safely, correctly and at the best prices, and they are happily satisfied, we have done our job”.
Jennie and Leo have done a good job of building a local customer base in less than one year of operating. They found word of mouth to be incredibly impactful in expanding the reach of their business in their community.
The future of shop local
It’s businesses like these that make us love shopping locally. They are the backbone of our economy and give so much back to the community.
We are thrilled to have gotten to know Art of Collab, the Historic Hampton House, and Patriot Welding supply through our Shop Local campaign. And we are proud to watch as they continue to fulfill the hard but rewarding work that they so fully devote themselves to.
Learn more about Melio today, a payment platform custom-built for small and medium sized businesses.
*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.