Small Business Saturday, founded by American Express in 2010, is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Small Business Saturday is about more than just a single day. It’s a movement. Help us celebrate and support small business in our community and SHOP SMALL all month long.
In celebration of the Shop Small Movement, we’re shining the spotlight on our small business customers all month long. Meet Christina Wherry, owner of Christina’s Gourmet, in Southington, CT, our small business customer of the week. We pulled Christina away from a fresh-out-of-the-oven tray of snicker doodles and pumpkin praline cookies to talk to us about her business and small businesses in general.
Why did you start your small business?
Everyone is happy when they buy cookies!
I used to bake as a hobby, but over the years, my baking business grew. In 2007, I incorporated, and in 2011 I opened my retail store.
Tell me more about your business … and your cookies.
My business is made up of a mix of corporations who ship cookie gifts to their clients, wholesale business, my retail shop, birthday parties and private functions and cooking classes.
While we hire seasonal workers, most of my employees are volunteers. I do an exchange work program where if you work for two hours, you get a dozen cookies. And since many people want to work in exchange for a birthday party or a class, I never seem to be lacking in volunteers!
Our signature flavor and my personal favorite are the Dark Chocolate Chip and Pecan. It’s a thick and chewy cookie made with bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate, high quality vanilla and buttery pecans. This is not your average cookie. But our best seller is the Sweet & Salty Satisfaction, a buttery shortbread filled with caramel, topped with milk chocolate and rolled in salted peanuts or pretzel pieces.
Do you shop small in your neighborhood?
Absolutely. I think when you are a small business yourself, it is so important to support other small businesses. As small business owners, we also try to join up and work together. We are meeting with the wine company next door to us to see if we can do something together this holiday season to give back to the local food bank. Your community makes up your best customers. Word of mouth is critical for a small business.
Why is it important to shop small?
Small businesses are the backbone of a community. They are what give a town character and individuality. When you shop with Christina’s Gourmet, I turn around and put my money back into my community. You have to give back. It’s just how it works. My name is on my products, so it’s the best possible cookie I can put forward. When you shop small, you know where product comes from.
We all need to make sure we are helping small businesses survive and thrive!
What UPS Store services do you use?
We use our local UPS Store for packing, shipping, printing, copying and faxing. It’s so easy because I know everyone there and they know me. I don’t have to explain what I need; they just know. Last minute flyers — I just send an email and it’s done. That kind of local relationship means one less thing I have to worry about so I can focus on my business.
I ship nationally, and many times the shipments are gifts. Working with The UPS Store, I know the cookies are packed and shipped right and will arrive fresh.
Take the UPS Store Shop Small Challenge this November. Share your shop small experience socially using the #iheartsmallbiz hashtag.
|Tags:||cookies, small business, Small Business Saturday, The UPS Store franchise|