by Dana Schlagenhaft
What if local small businesses linked arms together as a united front to become stronger and more successful together?
When Jennifer Cristofaro and I created our online store, Hello Local, our goal was to lend support and encouragement to local brick-and-mortar stores across Northwest Arkansas. These days, you hear more and more about online shopping stunting the positive growth of locally-owned small stores, but Jennifer and I don’t think that always has to be the case.
Our website, Hello Local, is a one-stop shop for hand-selected Northwest Arkansas products. We currently partner with over twenty five regional makers and small businesses, with the overarching goal of making buying and gifting local easier for shoppers. We buy products from regional businesses at a wholesale or negotiated price with the goal of putting those products in the hands of new customers.
The idea stemmed from a failed attempt at putting together a Northwest Arkansas-themed gift basket for friends new to our area. After two hours driving up and down I-49, and a lot of legwork, the concept of creating a singular online destination for great locally-produced products seemed like a solution that would benefit both the shopper and small businesses.
Hello Local offers customers singular products or curated gift boxes. Products include everything from Arkansas-shaped cutting boards, to natural hand lotions and lip balms, to chocolate and coffee. Gift boxes range from The NWA Man Box to the Coffee and Cocoa Box. New gift box combinations appear on shophellolocal.com weekly.
Here are a few of our favorites:
The NWA Man Box
1 pair of Arkansocks
KYYA Chocolate Coffee Infused bar
Heritage Woodworks coaster set
1 Bike Rack Brewing Company pint glass
OPTIONAL ADD-ON: $25 Gift Card to Bike Rack Brewing Company
The NWA Coffee and Cocoa Box
Wooden coasters from Heritage Woodworks
250 gram bag of Airship Coffee
2.8 ounce bar of KYYA Dark Chocolate
Northwest Arkansas mug by Hello Local
12 inch x 12 inch solid wood Arkansas cutting board by Pennington Cutting Boards
from Hen Pen Paper Company (we can even hand-write a note inside!)
12 -ounce bag of medium roast Guatemala Coffee from 211 Cafe
Lip balm, lotion, and candles from Jaxon Marz Goods
Hello Local also creates custom, branded gift boxes for corporations and local real estate companies. The boxes can serve as a thank you gift, a welcome-to-the-area goodie, or a holiday gesture for clients. The customization options are endless! Hello Local gift boxes are designed, printed and packed in Northwest Arkansas.
We aren’t just an online curator of products. Jennifer and I also added a few of our own creations to our online store.
Hello Local’s Northwest Arkansas coffee mug pairs perfectly with local coffees and tea.
Our regional t-shirts boast city zip codes, street names, love for our region and, of course, the Razorbacks!
We’re always hunting for new products and local partners! If you know of a local product or small business that should be included in Hello Local’s online marketplace, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.