Locally Owned and Locally Loved – My Small Business Fan Letter to a Store Making a Difference for People, Pets and a Top Zoo

Businesses spend a lot of money and effort on branding and marketing to capture the consumer’s attention. The best marketing campaigns are a reflection of what a business does for customers and how it helps them succeed. That is why I found a Good Neighbor Pharmacy network slogan “Locally Owned. Locally Loved” a perfect fit for Lindenwood Drugs.

It was a disastrous customer experience at another small business that first led me to the pharmacy on the corner of Lansdowne and Jamieson in the Saint Louis neighborhood of Lindenwood Park.

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My UPS package was shipped to a UPS store owned by a franchisee in Richmond Heights, Missouri for pick up. The UPS store staff received the insured package and then rejected it, sending it on a week-long odyssey where it was lost. I spent many hours on phone calls and sleuth work trying to find the package I needed desperately. Despite several visits to the UPS store on Clayton Road where the package was shipped for pick-up, the staff was rude and offered no help. The shipper was assured at another UPS store I could pick-it up at the Richmond Heights location to avoid porch thefts. Instead the staff at the UPS store accepted it initially only to propel it into the lost package abyss because I wasn’t a box holder. They didn’t seem interested in helping me get my package.

So what does a UPS package rejected by a UPS store have to do with a pharmacy in another neighborhood? Tom Hunt, owner of Lindenwood Drug offers a free service for people to have UPS packages delivered to his business for pick-up.

“It helps us create traffic plus it is a service to the community,” explains Hunt.

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His pharmacy serving as a UPS Access Point also helps fight crime allowing people a convenient way to avoid becoming victims of “porch pirates.” One in four Americans say they’ve experienced package theft according to a survey by Comcast.

After days of searching and tracking down an insured package UPS had classified as lost; I picked it up at Lindenwood Drug avoiding losing it again to porch theft.

While Hunt is keeping neighborhoods safer, his primary focus at Lindenwood Drug is keeping people healthy. The pharmacy is well known for personalized options including compounding service and delivery at competitive prices.

Lindenwood_pet_1452505_563791443702493_382433641_nLindenwood Drug’s healthy living services extend to animals as well. The Lindenwood Park business is one of a few pharmacies in St. Louis that will make human medications in dose strengths for animals. They make medications in flavors for dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, and pocket pets where none is available in a veterinary form or human form that is palatable for pets. The pharmacy’s Facebook page is filled with gratitude from pet owners who found a specialized solution for their animals at Lindenwood Drug.

Hunt and the other pharmacists at Lindenwood Drug fill prescriptions for animals at the Saint Louis Zoo. During his decades of veterinary pharmacy experience, Hunt has learned a lot about animals like puffins are susceptible to lung infections and Asian elephants are prone to the herpes virus.

Whether person or pet, the staff at Lindenwood Drug offer personalized and professional service that extends well beyond the charming pharmacy’s walls. Tom Hunt and his staff seem to have your best interest in mind, like a good neighbor should. No wonder they are a part of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network and why many customers travel past other drug stores to shop at Lindenwood Drug.Lindenwood_1965648_682687301812906_5338784854066700399_o (1)

Business Takes Center Stage as LouFest Cancels and Community Support is in the Spotlight

Financial issues and a wet weekend weather forecast are two of the reasons the producers of LouFest gave for leaving music fans and local businesses high and dry with just three days notice.

Just hours after the cancellation announcement, the Saint Louis community began organizing to minimize the impact on music lovers, entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by the LouFest cancellation.les_paul_guitar

Front Gate Tickets, the festival’s ticketing agent is set to refund music fans for their tickets. A two day pass for the event started at $105.00 and went up to $360.00 plus fees.

The artists and businesses taking part as vendors are not as lucky. Most have paid thousands of dollars in vending fees to be part of the festival and invested even more money in extra inventory to be ready for the fans in what was touted as the biggest festival ever with more than 40 acts.

A lot of extra food was ready to feed hungry fans. Local restaurants are working together with cross promotions and special events this week to minimize the impact.

Saint Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is urging people to get out and support area restaurants and music venues. She posted lists of the local artists, restaurants, brewers and craftspeople who are a part of the LouFest vending list on social media.

The St. Louis Brewers Guild also went to social media to appeal for support for the local hospitality community: “We are devastated to learn news that LouFest Music Festival has been cancelled just days before the event. We loved supporting this event and were thrilled to be working with their team to help create a local beer-focused footprint for the event this year with “BrewFest”. Our local breweries and restaurants have invested so much in terms of time, planning, sponsorship fees, brewing and packaging tons of beer, food ordering, promotion, and staffing and this is a huge blow. Please take a look at the lineups for both BrewFest and the Nosh Pit and go out of your way to show these folks some extra love if you can. Thank you for supporting our local beer and food scene.”

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Schlafly Beer designed a special commemorative can exclusively for the festival along with a special run of that beer. It is a big investment for the brewery.

Schlafly is also reaching out to LouFest attendees with a special offer; “We’re inviting all Loufest ticket-holders to join us Saturday, September 15 at the Schlafly Tap Room. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the tasting from noon to 4 pm. We will be offering 10% off tasting tickets starting today at 10 a.m. through this weekend for Loufest ticket holders here with the code ‘LOUFEST18’. Loufest ticketholders can also pick up a free commemorative can by showing their ticket stub, wristband, or receipt at either one of our brewpub location starting on Friday at 5 p.m. While supplies last and limit of one per ticket-holding customer.”

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Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters who were supposed to headline at LouFest will perform at The Pageant Sunday night. rock-concert-crowd_925x

Other alternative LouFest performances include two stages at the Grandel Theater in Grand Center from 2-10pm Sunday with more than a dozen bands scheduled to play. The event will be free and local vendors are invited to take part.

Retailers who invested money in LouFest are also a part of a pop up experience all weekend on Cherokee Street.

Arch Apparel, a Saint Louis based clothing manufacturer that created special LouFest branded merchandise is offering an alternative weekend event for fun and to support businesses. The ArchFest is an indoor event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Arch Apparel’s showroom and warehouse at Watson Industrial Park in Crestwood. The warehouse block party will feature music and many of the vendors who were planning to be a LouFest. Want more information on #ArchFest? Check out Arch Apparel’s Event Page.

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To read the entire LouFest cancellation statement and view more of the participating vendors visit http://loufest.com/

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Pop Up at Poppies Offers Fun for People and Pets While Supporting Small Business

 

Pop Up Shop Featuring St. Louis Area Artisans and Products for Pets and People 

2018 is the “Year of the Dog” and an upcoming Saint Louis pop-up event not only celebrates canines and people who love them but also local women artisans making treasures of all kinds for pets and their families.

Poppies Pop-Up is a free, pet-friendly event offering a one-of–a kind shopping experience supporting Saint Louis area women entrepreneurs at Poppies Design Studio near the Saint Louis County Animal Adoption Center on Saturday, April 14th from 10 am until 2 pm. There is free parking at the Poppies Design Studio located at 10405 Baur Boulevard.

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A pop up shop featuring St. Louis area artisans with products people and pets coming up at Poppies Design Studio will feature adoptable pets from Saint Louis County Adoption Center

In addition to wonderful adoptable pets at the pop-up event, there will be a wide variety of vendors. This is a list of some of the artisans scheduled to be there:

Poppies Design Studio – event florist
Flare Grove Creations – wood burned gifts
Renown Rentals / Emily Anna Events – event rentals
Two Tired Mamas – graphic tees
Elderberry STL – elderberry syrup and vitamins
doTerra Essential Oils – essential oil products
Pretty Please by tbk – modern teething accessories
The Good Dog Treat Box – handmade dog treats
The Sew Me State – handmade dog and baby accessories
LuLu Picklefish – home decor
Indigo Home Decor – home decor
Fashion Van Go – women’s fashion
Urban Sewing STL – hand crafted bags
Sugies Sweet Little Bake Shop – sugar cookies
OV Photography – event photography
The Fit Wheel – women’s fitness apparel
2 Girls 4 Wheels – St. Louis style food truck

It is a fun event to find unique things while supporting local artists and small businesses where you can meet adoptable pets!

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Doggie Dining Spots in Saint Louis

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The weather is warm and it can be fun to take your furry friend along when dining out. Many restaurants with outdoor seating are dog-friendly.

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Chow ready to chow down!

This is a sampling of Saint Louis area dining spots to mix and mingle with the canine crowd.  This list is not comprehensive and you may want to call ahead to double-check your dining choice’s pet-friendliness.

Failoni’s in Dogtown welcomes dogs with treats on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on their large patio.

Anthonino’s on The Hill welcomes dogs with water bowls on their side patio.

The Boat House in Forest Park is a favorite for dog owners who enjoy lakeside outdoor dining.

The Forest Park Café also welcomes canine companions for outdoor dining.

Carl’s Delicatessen has outdoor pet friendly dining options.

Katie’s Pizza + Pasta has an outdoor patio where canine companions are welcome

Wild Flower Restaurant invites well behaved dogs and their owners to try their cuisine.

Park Avenue Coffee has dog friendly dining options.

Tamm Avenue Grill is a popular destination for pet families.

Pi Pizzeria welcomes dog dining where outdoor patios are available.

Most Starbucks with outdoor tables allow well behaved canine companions.

Many Panera Bread locations with patio facilities welcome doggie diners.

Piccadilly at Manhattan welcomes canine customers on their outdoor patio.

Cardwell’s at the Plaza has outdoor pet friendly dining options.

Kaldi’s Coffeehouse has dog friendly outdoor dining areas.

Biggie’s welcomes well behaved canine companions on their patio.

Many of these restaurants also offer special dog menus or special events for pet owners. Check the business social media pages to stay up on the latest canine cuisine news. 12006127_1199688976712863_1172305024498875031_n

Made in the USA: Online Reality Series Get on The Shelf Invites Consumers to Have a Say

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Made in America an important selling feature.

Made in America an important selling feature.

When shopping  do you check where the product originates or is produced?  I know I do.  It is a global marketplace we live in and consumers know not all nations’ standards are the same.  In China, about 38 percent of Chinese surveyed in a recent Pew Research Center poll reflected food safety is a very big concern in China.  This is a jump from 2008, when only 12 percent of Chinese respondents agreed.

It is little wonder with these concerns, “Made in the USA” is currently one of the hottest labels around!  Seventy-four percent of the Americans in a Consumer Reports National Research survey had tried to buy a U.S.-made product in the past year.

Made in America is not just a marketing slogan!  It is important to your family and your future.  Did you know these facts about manufacturing in America?

The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 18.2 percent of global manufactured products, according to the World Bank. China is second with 17.6 percent.

U.S. manufacturing produces $1.8 trillion of value each year, or 12.2 percent of U.S. GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy.

Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the U.S.—about one in six private sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.

Walmart is again giving American inventors and manufacturing a boost with the return of the popular original online reality series. The first episode can now be viewed at getontheshelf.walmart.com, and the retailer is asking the public to decide which new products from American entrepreneurs will appear on its shelves this fall.

The five weekly “webisodes,” which go live on Tuesdays beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22, 2013 feature a group of finalists under the same theme, such as Kid Stuff or Great Gadgets. The video shows give viewers a chance to learn more about the entrepreneurs behind the inventions and watch as they pitch their product to a panel of Walmart.com judges.

After each weekly online episode, voters have 72 hours to cast their votes for the winner, who will have their product sold on Walmart.com. A grand prize winner will also be selected based on the number of preorders of the product, and will receive additional support marketing from Walmart.com plus an introduction to the Walmart stores’ merchandising team to potentially be sold in Walmart stores. Last year’s three winning products are sold in select Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.

“Get on the Shelf celebrates the resilient and tenacious spirit of American entrepreneurs, many of whom have been working hard for a big break like this,” explains Kelly Thompson, senior vice president of merchandising for Walmart.com said in a statement. “The web series creates more exposure for finalists to share their inspiring stories, which makes for captivating reality TV that’s also interactive since American consumers can vote for the next great product at Walmart.com.”

Contests and Special Business Initiatives Connect Small Business with Super Bowl XLVIII

The NFL season is just getting underway and the Super Bowl is months away, but the buzz around the big game has been underway for weeks. Super Bowl 2014 is the first game hosted by two NFL franchises: the New York Jets and the New York Giants. From the halftime show to the price of commercials for Super Bowl XLVIII; social media is full of anticipation. Super Bowl advertisers are signing on to spend a record-high average price of $4 million per 30-second spot!

Small business owners also are working to make sure their companies get a part of the biggest show on turf. One small business will be part of the Super Bowl commercial lineup along with the big brands courtesy of a software giant.  Intuit, maker of QuickBooks, is sponsoring ‘Small Business Big Game’, a contest in which one small company will receive a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl XLVIII.  In addition to a professionally produced television commercial, there are other smaller business building prizes up for grabs in the online competition.  Entry deadline is September 22, 2013 at http://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com/

The Super Bowl is not a one-day game and business opportunity.  The big game is a series of events attracting hundreds of thousands of people who will not be the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Both New York and New Jersey will be hosting special events and celebrations for the NFL’s biggest event.   For example, Broadway ‘s district, from 34th to 44th,  will be renamed Super Bowl Boulevard, and closed to traffic for four days of concerts, football clinics and free events leading up to the Super Bowl.  New Jersey venues are scheduled many activities including Super Bowl Media Day on and the NFL’s Tailgate party at Meadowlands Racetrack.

All of these events have entrepreneurs and small business owners working to make sure their companies are ready to do business with the National Football League and partner organizations for Super Bowl XLVIII. The league and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative is already reaching out to small business. For more than a decade, the NFL has been building connections between the league and small business in Super Bowl host cities. An initiative known as the NFL’s Business Connect holds training sessions and workshops to educate local businesses about the process of pursuing and winning contracts.  A free participant guidebook to NFL’s Business Connect is online now at http://nynjsuperbowl.com/participant-guidebook.

 The NFL’s Business Connect will present informational workshops featuring local and national speakers, access to potential opportunities for Super Bowl-related business contacts, networking events and an online Business Resource Guide. While much of the business is centered on the big game, the program strives to develop business relationships that will continue long after the nation’s largest sporting spectacle moves on to another city. 

Super Bowl events will make multimillion dollar impact on New York city's economy.

Super Bowl events will make multimillion dollar impact on New York city’s economy.

Small Business Tip: New Free Online Store for Maryland Seafood

Buying and selling Maryland seafood is easier for the state’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and consumers.  There is a new online home for Maryland seafood direct from watermen and aqua-farmers as easy as picking up the phone and placing an order. 

The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center and the Maryland Department of Agriculture are working together to make a berth for local seafood on the Internet – at the University’s virtual farmer’s market, www.Foodtrader.org

 

 A free service to buyers and sellers, Foodtrader.org provides instantaneous listings of fresh foods available only from Maryland farms. The idea is to offer consumers the freshest food at competitive prices by connecting them directly with local farmers and now the fishing industry.  Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, says he is thrilled with this new opportunity for producers to reach consumers; “It’s a perfect example of how technology can help our agricultural and seafood industries sell their products directly to consumers,” Hance says.

 

“I feel like I am doing my part to keep the seafood industry here sustainable,” says Joanne Throwe, director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center and creator of the website. “Buying local should be more than just about fruits and vegetables.”

 

Signing up for Foodtrader.org is free and acts like a Craig’s List for local foods.  Currently, the site is designed for Maryland producers and consumers; as such, anyone outside the state is unable to create an account.  Interested, but don’t live in Maryland?  Anyone can visit the site, click on listings, and view listing details and producer contact information — that is, buy from anyone listing items for sale.