By Nora Hellmers, Logistics Coordinator
I became part of The Venture Center team in June of 2019. As the Logistics Coordinator, part of my role is building relationships with our catering partners to bring entrepreneurial communities together to learn – while also providing a taste of Little Rock. As a recent college graduate, jumping into such a community-driven position has been an enjoyable experience, and I’ve loved supporting our local small businesses. They are the backbone of every community, and through this economically devastating period, our community is keenly aware of their current struggles. As we start to reopen our state slowly, it’s essential that as a community, we remember to support these local small businesses that drive our local economy, support non-profits, and make our city and state a wonderful place to live.
Each of our partners specializes in a different cuisine, from classic sandwiches and salads to Asian and Argentinian fare. When we have people visit The Venture Center from all over the world, having these options at our fingertips is a gift. Their thoughtful hospitality helps Little Rock truly shine and helps our community programs and accelerator programs be successful.
The Coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant toll on small businesses around Little Rock, that brings cause for concern for The Venture Center and our entire community.
As we shifted gears from working in the office to working remotely from home, we knew we had to prioritize reaching out to our community partners. Because of our deepening relationships with them, we knew our partners would need to hear familiar and supportive voices. We learned from them that some regular customers had purchased gift cards and have been regularly ordering out. These things had been incredibly helpful and meaningful to our restaurant friends. We took a page from their customers’ books and bought several gift cards, knowing that we’re all going to come out of this on the other side. And when we do, we want our entrepreneurs to be there.
Arkansans have been stuck at home for quite some time now. While everyone will have to decide for themselves if dining in at a restaurant is the right choice, another way to continue to support these small business owners is to get takeout after a long day and even show them a little love on social media.
Each partner is near and dear to us as they are to so many in our city. We know that one day, we’ll be back to business as usual, and we know that we’ll be grateful to pick up where we left off with our community partners. Until then, let’s all work to support them in whatever way we can. Some ideas include getting takeout and thinking ahead by purchasing stocking stuffers or other holiday gifts in the form of gift cards. When we are lucky enough to get back in their restaurants, let’s remember their community contributions and tell them, “thanks!”