Small businesses and thriving communities are kind of a package deal. So it got us thinking, what are some things our Spotlight Shop businesses do to make meaningful connections? A meal prep service, reading and arts center, and design agency all based in Buffalo had some great answers. Take a look!

Q: How does your business get involved in your community?

An Extra Scoop: "We firmly believe everyone deserves a healthy home-cooked meal – no matter income level or circumstance. Here at An Extra Scoop, we cook and donate meals to those staying at the Ronald McDonald House, Kevin Guest House and Buffalo Community Fridge. Our owner also serves on the Development Committee for Habitat for Humanity Buffalo. Giving back is how you keep moving forward!”

The Treehouse Reading and Arts Center: "Every year we get as involved as we can! We host a ‘Find Waldo’ activity where the community has to find Waldo hiding in a local business. We're regularly involved in local events as a vendor or sponsor. We've had tables at local Pride Fests, Juneteenth events, holiday pop-ups, a school's multicultural night, the local ice-skating show and a high school color guard show. We also donate book baskets and gift certificates to many local schools or organizations in support of events important to them."

Buffalo Gals by White Rabbit Design: "Community involvement is at the heart of my small business. For starters, my designs appeal to local customers with Buffalove-themed products, including greeting cards, prints, tote bags and more. I use vendors in the community to manufacture and print my products. Though it can be tempting to buy from ‘the big guys’ online, I believe it’s imperative to spend my dollars here, where I live and work, where the money can make the most difference for our local economy to thrive. I also give back to the community. For each purchase of my original poster, ‘Buffalo Will See It Through,’ I donate a portion of the proceeds to FeedMore WNY. The Buffalo and Erie County Naval Park also receives a donation based on sales of my note card set depicting the park’s historic ships."

Q: Why do you think it's important for a small business to be involved in its community?

An Extra Scoop: "Small businesses are literally the lifeblood of our community. We see the need and the struggles on a daily basis. Supporting our community makes it stronger. Small businesses also keep money within the community."

The Treehouse Reading and Arts Center: "Community is what small business is all about. Our mission is to be here to support the families and kids in our community through literacy, the arts and education. Supporting the community builds loyal customers, but at the end of the day, it's not about what we get from each other. It is ALL about building something bigger and better together."

Buffalo Gals by White Rabbit Design: "Our community is stronger when small businesses succeed. It creates more jobs for local workers, adds tax revenue for our region and ensures that families can build their future lives here. The organic growth I’ve seen in our entrepreneur infrastructure will bring new people and companies into our region, creating new opportunities for all small businesses."

Q: How have you formed relationships with people in your community by being involved?

An Extra Scoop: "Giving back to our community has been important to me for many years, and as a result, I have made connections with like-minded individuals, been exposed to different organizations and causes and have formed lasting friendships with some of the best people I know."

The Treehouse Reading and Arts Center: "Outside the shop, I am recognized by kids as the Treehouse lady, which is how I know I've formed the most important relationships of all! People hear that we have a reputation for supporting various marginalized groups, and they ask what they can do to help. Every customer who comes in is treated as a friend of the Treehouse. I can walk into small businesses in the area and am recognized as a fellow business owner (or Waldo), and we can easily work together to accomplish our goals. I truly believe these connections are so important to who we are as human beings, especially in an online shopping– and social media–dominant world."

Buffalo Gals by White Rabbit Design: "It’s been a joy to meet and collaborate with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. There is a vibrant and thriving ecosystem in Buffalo and WNY that just continues to grow. I’ve always been curious to learn how and why someone takes that leap to entrepreneurship and what I can learn from them. I’ve met so many people at artisan pop-ups, local social media groups and meetups, community-based nonprofit organizations and networking groups. What has been most refreshing is how generous people have been, sharing their small business journey, and offering ideas, help and referrals. Small businesses truly embody our nickname ‘City of Good Neighbors.’”

Okay, warm and fuzzies overload. Small businesses truly are the heart of our communities, and those quotes got ours swelling. So we have to know, a healthy home-cooked meal, a new page-turner or some fun swag, what’s your first stop? 

The content of this page is for informational purposes only. It is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. Please consult with the professionals of your choice to discuss your situation.