Make Your Store a Community Resource

by : 

Megy Karydes

February 1, 2016
Make Your Store a Community Resource

A lot of lip service is played these days to “being part of the community,” yet many independent retailers often don’t go beyond making a product donation to their little league’s fundraiser or participating in a group ad with neighboring businesses. Both of these actions are fine, but why not step it up and start presenting your business as the “go to” source for everything from unique gift ideas to what’s happening in your neighborhood?

Your local media probably does a great job already sharing the details of what’s happening around the neighborhood with local residents. Most visitors, however, don’t read the local newspaper to find out an insider’s recommendation on which restaurant has a great brunch or to discover the top five places nearby to visit.

The local chamber of commerce or Main Street Association might have a flyer, but in case it doesn’t, why not create one for your business and offer it to visitors and locals alike? It can be something as simple as a list of “Best Places to Dine & Visit in [insert your city or neighborhood].” Be sure your store’s name, address, phone, and website are listed on it. Since you’ve gone through the trouble of creating this flyer, upload the information to your website, too, so it can be a resource for people searching on their mobile device or just searching from out of town.

Beyond the flyer, why not add to your blog reviews of any restaurants you’ve really enjoyed dining at? Any cool, new breweries open that also offer tours? Blog about them! Not only are you offering your own customers a service by helping them find fun things to do in your community, but you’re becoming an integral part of the community—and other businesses will see that you’re supporting them and their businesses, too. That’s what it means to be part of a community.

Maximize your work even further by taking that information, as well as any blog posts you’ve written, and adding those links in your e-newsletters and social media platforms. Be sure to tag the businesses by including their Facebook and Instagram account names or Twitter handles. That way, they’ll see you’ve included them in your material and might share your information with their customers. This could bring more customers into your shop.

Becoming known as the “go to” source for everything from gift ideas to neighborhood stuff isn’t hard nor do you have the be in a tourist area to offer a “best places to dine/visit in the ‘hood” type of content. Whether it’s locals that need to be reminded of what makes your community so special or visitors with only 24 or 48 hours to spend in your town, being seen as a community leader not only makes us feel like we’re a bigger part of a vibrant community, it also makes business sense.

Megy Karydes helps small businesses harness their marketing power. She’s also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic’s CityLab, Midwest Living magazine and Chicago Tribune, among others. Find her at