Small business success often comes down to quality relationships. It goes without saying that nurturing positive and lasting relationships with your vendors and customers is fundamental. Also vital, but often overlooked, is building strong relationships with other small businesses in your community. Neighboring businesses can support each other businesses with product collaborations, co-promotions, or a simple shout-out on social media. We asked five small business owners to share the ways they prioritize small business solidarity and why it’s essential to their success.

 A storefront sign hangs outside a store, American flag waving behind it.
Shopping at other local businesses — and recommending them to her customers — are some of the ways Amy D’Alessio of J.Alden Women’s shows support for other Essex, CT businesses.. — J. Alden Clothiers

Amy D’Alessio, owner, J. Alden Women’s

Who we are: An Essex, CT destination for distinctive clothing, accessories and gifts for everyone in your life.

I believe in collaboration versus competition. The old adage, “a high tide raises all ships,” is true, especially when it comes to small business. I love to shop at small businesses often. Social media makes it easy to give our fellow small businesses a "shout out" — even a simple tag in a story can go a long way. I feel this shows my followers and clients that we (small businesses) are a community and that we are stronger and more powerful as a group. I can't possibly sell everything for everyone in my small shop, but chances are someone in my small business community can.

If a client comes in and is looking for something that I don't have, I will point them in the direction of another small business where they can find it. This reinforces the message that we are a community here to serve our clientele. This idea of community is what makes us different from the big box store. I consider myself lucky to own a small business in a community like Essex, CT. Follow J. Alden Women’s on Instagram & Facebook.

 Woman creates a flower arrangement in a rustic farmhouse room.
WIldroot Flower Co.'s Lyndsay Biehl credits an early partnership with a local greenhouse to helping plant the seeds of her wholesale business success. — Wildroot Flower Co.

Lyndsay Biehl, owner, Wildroot Flower Co.

Who we are: Flower farm located in Marietta, Ohio offering CSA subscriptions, seasonal U-Pick gardens, workshops, event bouquets and arrangements and more.

Community is the foundation of our farm and our local collaborations have been the key to our success in business. We partner with local businesses in everything we do, from retailing our flowers to hosting on-farm events. I believe in supporting the community of businesses that so graciously support our mission and share our story.

Owning a business can be tough and feel isolating at times. Networking with other local business owners has been a great way to tap into the abundance of our local market. It’s also been a way to learn from more established business owners and lean on each other for guidance. In my first year selling wholesale flowers, I partnered with a local greenhouse, Scot’s Landscape & Nursery, to retail my flowers in their store. This relationship allowed me to gain valuable feedback about my wholesale process from a vendor I trusted, and I acquired an expansive customer base from a larger market for our farm. Our business has continued to grow in the West Virginia market because of this partnership, and I am incredibly grateful.

I would absolutely recommend that anyone who is in business now or looking to dive into the entrepreneurship world should consider teaming up with other local business owners. I promise you won’t regret it. Follow Wildroot Flower Co. Instagram & Facebook.

 A storefront sign displays the store name and a message to passers-by.
Throughout the pandemic, Fleury Lumber leveraged its prominent storefront signage to recognize and promote other businesses in the Easthampton, MA area. — Fleury Lumber

Rebecca Freeman, general manager, Fleury Lumber Company

Who we are: Family-owner lumber and hardware supplier based in Easthampton, MA that is known for providing quality products to consumers and contractors with the highest level of customer service.

We have always invested in our community and supported other local businesses. We have shown support to other community businesses in creative ways. In the past, we have purchased gift certificates and gift cards from local businesses and then handed them out to our customers and contractors at our barbecue events. During the pandemic, we rotated our storefront marquee to highlight other businesses in town. We support other local businesses every chance we get.

We really dug into social media a few years ago, and that has made an impact on both business owners and customers. Giving shout-outs to our friends and neighbors not only feels good, but the unity of it strengthens us as a community. It also shows that we are human and that we care not just about our own success, but also the success of those around us. The town of Easthampton has a lot of independent businesses. Trying to stay open and prosperous is the goal for many of us, and I am all about supporting that. Follow Fleury Lumber Company on Instagram & Facebook.

 Artisan, hand-map soap on display in a shop.
Astoria Soap’s Laurie Kruczek believes that “no one has your back quite like the businesses in your own town,” which is why she values collaborating with other Astoria businesses. — Astoria Soap

Laurie Kruczek, owner and soapmaker, Astoria Soap

Who we are: Makers of luxurious handmade vegan soaps that are crafted with care in Astoria, OR.

Partnering with a local vacation spot and venue, the Rosebriar Mansion, has been a fantastic way to stretch the definition of what I do. Now, not only do I make soap for sale online and at local markets, but I also sell my products to clients in the hospitality industry. This partnership has opened another vertical of revenue for our company.

Being represented at the Rosebriar feels “business intimate,” knowing my soap will be used immediately and enjoyed first-hand. My business is named for our city, so Rosebriar and I are able to give visitors a special feel for our local luxuries. The Rosebriar has been so wonderful to partner with, and we've even created a signature scent just for their B&B. I can't emphasize how good it feels to welcome visitors to our city as a real Astoria team. Businesses in the city are supportive of each other, and I look forward to more local partnerships in the future.

The best advice I can give for other businesses looking to create partnerships is to meet each other where you are and rise together to create a special working relationship. Keep it personal. Keep it unique. Lift one another up on social media and you'll grow together, too. No one has your back quite like the businesses in your own town. Follow Astoria Soap on Instagram & Facebook.

 An antique store displays eclectic furniture and decor
Warehaus supports local economic growth by using its space to host a local market that features other local businesses. — Warehaus

Jonathan and Janelle Warehaus, owners, Warehaus

Who we are: A Orlando, FL destination for unique, quality vintage home furnishings and decor.

Warehaus is a family-run, vintage furniture and decor shopping experience located in the heart of Orlando, Florida. Our store features a curated mix of mid-century, global bohemian, and vintage styles selected for their quality and appeal. Warehaus is passionate about promoting like-minded local businesses and creating platforms for others to succeed within our space. We share our storefront by featuring monthly collaborations, pop-ups and markets.

Our annual Haus Fest holiday makers market is a specific collaboration and promotion that we’ve seen make a big impact on not only our brand awareness within the community, but also on our ability to to highlight other local entrepreneurs. These types of events have helped us build the trust and support in our community. Our goal is to promote sustainability and local economic growth within Orlando's diverse community. Follow Warehaus on Instagram & Facebook.

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