As a mission driven small business that grew from a simple idea (seriously, a lawn sign, right?!) to a full line of products that support inclusivity and positivity for ALL in the United States, we feel quite strongly about the power of voting with your dollar. And one place where dollars spent have a huge impact is through small businesses.
A 2017 special edition in the journal Entrepreneurship & Regional Development concluded, “Small businesses transform and develop communities. Entrepreneurs create ways to connect resources and growth across cultures, policy contexts, economic conditions and political situations that differ from [one] region to another. They must create strategies that will ultimately resolve major economic and social challenges and, in this sense, improve the quality of life of the region where they are located.”
We could not possibly agree more!
Over the past year we have had the amazing opportunity to partner with small retail businesses in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and even California. Diverse in the products they sell and demographics they serve, these businesses all share a value of creating stronger, more diverse, more inclusive, and more sustainable communities. From our very first retail partners, i like you and Pacifier in Minneapolis and St. Paul, to the amazing Twin Cities Coops--Eastside, Hampden Park, The Wedge, and Linden Hills--to activist shop Northern Sun and the eclectic Bibelot Shops, we are so grateful for the support our small business has received from other small businesses. Out of the Twin Cities we have retail partners in Aitkin (Adventure North), Duluth (Saffron & Grey), and Spicer (Satsanga), Minnesota, and Berkeley, California (Old Yak Bazaar).
In addition to the retail partners who sell our products and help us to reach a wider customer base, we also support (and are supported by!) many small businesses that help us to print, warehouse, and ship our products. Dunn and Semington in Edina, MN, printed our very first sign and continues to print the vast majority of our signs (how could we not support a business with the tag line, “the only thing we value more than printing is people”?!). Smartpress in Chanhassen, MN, created our prints, cards, clings and magnents. And Navis Pack and Ship in Eagan, MN, provides a safe place to store our goods, and logistical and labor support for shipping our products all over the United States.
We would be remiss in not also calling out several other small businesses that have, through events and collaborations, helped us to raise funds for the ACLU and Transforming Families. Lakes & Legends Brewing Co. in Minneapolis co-hosted our first major fundraising event, “All Are Welcome Beer,” and also our Pride Family Lounge event in July. Blue Nose Coffee partnered with us in April to raise money for the ACLU by donating a portion of their sales to the ACLU. And the Midtown Global Market and Sunnyside Gardens in Minneapolis (in addition to Lakes & Legends Brewing Co.) regularly host craft markets where very small, artisan-run businesses like ours come together to reach a broader base of consumers.
As we head into the season of shopping and spending, we encourage you all to support the local businesses in your community that employ your neighbors, support your values, and give back to our communities, locally, nationally, and globally.