These days, it’s hard to find a fiercer term than “local.” That little two-syllable word has the power to inspire giant populations. It reflects a philosophy that those of us who live and work in cherished environments hold dear: A strong community is a united one. For the past 18 months, The Small Business Beanstalk (SBB) has subscribed to, and propelled, the local manifesto by creating a network of more than 350 independent Central Ohio businesses. Through that network, more than 70,000 Columbus residents have been incentivized to support local businesses by using Community Cards. The cards are small enough to fit on your keychain and offer galaxies of homegrown deals.
Numbers — and loyalty — keep growing for The SBB. Last night, team members Timothy Wolf Starr, Charles Erickson, and Alex Rider hosted a gathering at the Gateway Film Center to announce several new projects. These include the SBBuckeyes program, which will offer affinity cards for students of The Ohio State University through partnerships with graduate and undergraduate student government groups. And Homemade Ohio, a school fundraising initiative that will tap into goods made by local businesses like Make Believe Monsters, Stinkybomb Soap, and Zapico Foods instead of humdrum candy bars and generic frozen cookie dough. A Mobile Food Vendor Locater, enabling Columbus residents to track the real-time whereabouts of dozens of mobile food carts, will launch this weekend. The SBB also plans to build specialized programs for Consider Biking, the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), and Green Columbus.
During last night’s event, Columbus Alternative High School student Alex Walkowski debuted his eight-minute documentary about The SBB. Not only was it well crafted, it was funny, which is hard to execute for a documentarian of any age, let alone an eleventh grader. Mr. Walkowski gets an A+++ in my ledger.