If you’re shopping for locally-made or locally-themed products or gifts, Hello Local aims to become your one-stop shop. The start-up is expanding into its first standalone brick and mortar retail location and is also expanding its year-round corporate gifting program. Hello Local’s storefront, dubbed their Experience Store, will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, September 22nd.
The Northwest Arkansas company launched in 2016 when founder Dana Schlagenhaft noticed area small business owners needed an affordable venue to sell products in the region’s quickly growing downtowns. In 2018, local entrepreneur Mark Cloud joined Hello Local to help guide its expansion.
“Most small businesses in their initial growth stages can’t foot the bill for a downtown retail lease or are wary of taking on that kind of risk, but they need the exposure and foot traffic that comes with being centrally-located. Hello Local was created with the idea that local makers and small businesses can work together, support each other, and grow together in a bustling downtown location," Schlagenhaft said.
Hello Local partners with over thirty Northwest Arkansas small businesses. The Hello Local Experience Store displays each local product in a gallery-like setting with a large custom-created bar offering samples of products daily. The store also offers a line of locally-themed t-shirts and custom curated gifts that can be shipped nationwide straight from the store.
While it expands its physical presence in the region, Hello Local is also expanding its corporate gifting program and kicking off a campaign to encourage Northwest Arkansas companies to gift local this holiday season. Hello Local offers a catalog of themed locally-sourced gift boxes, at various price ranges, that can be fully customized with a company’s unique branding.
“Can you imagine the boost local small businesses (and our local economy) will receive if Northwest Arkansas-based corporations chose to gift local this holiday season? It would not simply be an influx of sales for growing small businesses – it’s a morale boost and affirmation that they should keep pushing their business to the next level,” Schlagenhaft said.
The Hello Local Experience Store is located at 101 East Emma Avenue in Downtown Springdale or can be found online at shophellolocal.com