As an entrepreneur, planting your roots in a community is a big commitment and decision. Our R&A Business Spotlights shared how significant and influential community support and involvement in Hampton Roads has been to their business, and we revisited these experiences and memories to inspire and bring hope to those currently enduring the small business hustle and grind.
Take a walk down memory lane with us below. Read more of their stories on their Spotlight features linked below.
Crunchy Hydration Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Megan Rigg reveals her established network in the area helped create a base for her business. From the beginning, Megan’s idea was inspired and made possible by the local community, including Cromwell Farms, Leaping Lizard Café, local farmers’ markets and many more. It is a common thread woven throughout every part of her business—from local ingredients to the local partnerships and collaborations, which help keep Crunchy Hydration accessible around town.
Cure In 2015, the coffeehouse was faced with perhaps its greatest challenge to date. The awning of Cure and its neighboring businesses collapsed. Fortunately, nobody was on the sidewalk at the time, and there were no reported injuries. But what astonished manager Kari Redman was how the community rallied to support a fellow small business. “I was amazed by the support we received days and weeks after the overhang crumbled,” said Kari. “Everyone came together to support one another, and it was truly a humbling experience.”
Four Eleven York “You could open a similar concept in various populated cities throughout the country and just be one of a dozen. But not here. This is where I grew up and I saw it as bringing something new and different to the area. It excites me to be able to create a community where I live and see it evolve,” Malia Paasch adds.
Jars of Dust When Mallorie Terranova moved to Virginia Beach, she knew this was the time to invest in Jars of Dust full-time. She describes the transition, “It fell into place. Virginia Beach was really receptive to having a potter in town.” She showed up at farmers’ markets and craft shows and the local support began to grow organically.
Leesa The local community has been massively supportive and was a draw for them to open Leesa in Virginia Beach. David Wolfe explains, “The community was really important and solidified the belief that you could build a forward-thinking, socially responsible company in this market and attract people to this market.” The makeup of their team is about 50/50 local versus transplants. “You will see a tremendous number of people who have moved here to be a part of what we are doing,” David says
Jamie Diamonstein expands, “We talk about the local community and giving back a lot. Many of the 36,000 mattress donations have been in the local community.” He continues, “It speaks volumes for who we are as a B Corp organization. [Giving back] has been in our DNA. It is from the heart.”
Lolly’s Creamery Their three children and the community inspire ice cream flavors. This is an important aspect of their business, as Joey Launi expresses, “I want to access the joy and creativity in other people.” He continues, “We want people who are following us to feel like it is their friend’s ice cream shop. Even if they don’t know us, we want them to feel that.”
PlantBar “We decided to open at the oceanfront to be closer to our customers as well as local businesses,” Bailey Ryan says. She continues, “The community has been incredible. We really knew we were home when we moved [the business] here.”
Smooth“It is not just the services we provide; it is the conversations we have. We listen, support, laugh, cry and high-five with our clients.” The dedication Smooth has to its clients is admirable and is something they continue to foster daily. “We built not only a business but a community over the years, and our clients are absolutely the best,” Nickie Janes says with gratitude.
The Stockpot Patrick Edwards opened The Stockpot to build a community and feeling of hospitality around warm and comforting bowls of soup—a niche that wasn’t represented locally at the time. “We wanted to be known for one thing that would set us apart from other restaurants in the area,” Patrick says. He continues, “This is a community-oriented restaurant, and we wanted to invite people into our home.”
80/20 Burger Bar They stay on course using their key philosophy to use local suppliers even down to boasting the best selection of local beer in the 757. “We support local, using local ingredients wherever possible,” noted Jamie Summs, co-owner. “That’s our commitment to our community.”
In addition to their restaurant philosophy, their sense of community helps drive the business. As one example, 80/20 Burger Bar has fundraised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the last two years. “We’re always looking for ways to partner with local businesses and support philanthropic events,” Jamie added.
Check out our Small Business Week Roundup to learn more about the entrepreneurial journeys of our local small businesses including challenges faced and lessons learned along the way.
Do you have a favorite local business you would like to see featured as our next Business Spotlight? Submit a nomination via a quick form here!