Creating Space in our Communities

by Sheridan Mordue //

For nearly 20 years, I have filled my Hip & Humble shops with goodies for the Holidays.  I max our credit line for little baubles, silly socks, European shoes, and smelly soaps.  Sleepless nights are the norm, painstaking merchandising a must, late night trainings with staff are relentless, reboots of our marketing plan seem endless and tears and more tears are a given as I try to deliver something new and evocative to my incredible clients: YOU!
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But as much as I might feel a bit sorry for myself or play a bit of a martyr this time of year, there is one thing that is true: I am not that special and I am not alone.  The time, the worry and the intense desire to give to clients reverberates inside all the other small businesses along our shopping streets. While you could say that we small businesses are partners in crime, our partnership is an emotional tie and our crime is not a crime at all: as small businesses, we create space in our community.

This month on the blog, I am dying to share with you some of the most important people (and their spaces!) in our community.  They are me, I am them and together we hammer away each day looking forward to seeing you, your friends, your family and sharing with you our very best selves.

Cactus & Tropicals – Karin and Scott Pynes
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Although I have frequented Scott and Karin’s shop for years, only recently have Scott and I found ourselves working together on many boards and community programs.  Scott and Karin are unequivocal in their giving and donating practices.  They generously open their greenhouse space full of big blooms, water features and foilage to families, photographers, wedding parties and even soulful shoppers looking for respite.

The Stockist - Helen Wade
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Helen and I have been a pair for a few years; always trying to “Make Things Happen.”  Just like you, our spare time resides at zero, but we are consistently pulled into managing street and small business happenings.  I think we have had more frustrations than success over the years coming up with marketing plans, finding volunteers and scraping together dollars in donations and sponsorships. I admire Helen and her laid back way—her shop exudes the same easy manner.  I expect calls or texts from Helen on Black Friday, random slow days in July or those killer sales days in December.  We find consolation, support and real joy in each other’s businesses.  (What’s more, the perfect dose of competition can really be good for biz!)

Rico’s Brand – Jorge Fierro
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Jorge is a force in our city.  He’s willful, passionate and extremely giving.  Not one to shy away from the microphone or the head of the table, I admire Jorge’s way. We met on the board of Local First Utah, where Jorge displays commitment to small businesses, family, community, and humanitarian causes.  You’ve probably spotted Rico’s Brand in your local market and out on the streets feeding our homeless.  Jorge employs many locals, if not hundreds.  They love working in his magical warehouse where daylight and nighttime often collude, and Event Space and Food Production Space share the same hallways. His warehouse is full of colorful walls, dazzling paintings and little strung lights.  Jorge rents this space to community causes he believes in.  Hobnobbing where beans and tortillas are made, the space couldn’t be more quaint and lively.

Dexterity Salon – Jeff Martin
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This space is small, vibrant, inventive and it’s definitely Jeff’s.  Jeff’s been working my hair for decades.  He’s seen all my kiddos born, my biz grow and my hair get shorter.  We spend a lot of time talking about our business practices and new marketing ideas. Jeff’s fantastic space has a huge round table where salon chairs sit and everyone has full view.   Conversations among clients are easily swapped and collaboration between hair stylists is highly encouraged.  It feels a bit more like a bar “where everybody knows your name” and a little less like a salon.  Laughter and cheery vibes radiate from the center and I would venture to say that time spent in this salon is consistently measured as time well spent.

Pallet – Esther Imotan & Bijan Ghiai
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For me, the desire to frequent Pallet goes way beyond their delectable food and their brightly infused cocktail list. Esther and Bijon have manned Pallet for years.  They have raised the bar (literally!) in the food and cocktail arena for SLC.  Although I don’t socialize with these two outside of their cozy restaurant space, be not fooled: the hugs and kisses on my arrival and departure are true.  A few hours’ meal conversation with these two can wander from business losses and successes to loves and breakups.  Within their four walls and a bottle of wine we all find support for our personal and professional lives.

As small businesses we are not less advantaged and don’t have it harder, nor are we the only caring forces in our community.  But in small business, it’s just different.  Work is about our family, friends, clients and the way we feel about our COMMUNITY.
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Small Businesses are often the ones that hang the banners on your streets, touch up bench paint on the walks, and keep streetlights and buildings lit in your neighborhoods.  We donate to your local schools and organizations, but most of all, we create space—space where you meet your friends, share a cocktail, work with free wifi, bump into a neighbor or take your out-of-town relatives to shop.  Ours are spaces where relationships and community come together.

This holiday season, I implore you to shop local and support the small businesses that create spaces where you want to spend your time.  Buy from those familiar faces that invest in your neighborhoods, care for your community and work tirelessly with YOU specifically in mind.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Hip & Humble.

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