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Inspiring Conversations with Kristina Grimm of Thrive Local

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Grimm.

Hi Kristina, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
For several years, I had this vision of a place where makers could come together under one roof to connect and help take some of that burden off of running a storefront solo. My small business journey began as a graphic designer for wedding invitations and small business branding. It then expanded into stationery. I really wanted a way to get in front of the community and be seen. I quickly learned how expensive, time-consuming, and risky it was to have my own brick and mortar. I had tried markets and doing pop-ups at other local businesses, but it just was not what I was wanting. A few years back, I started hosting “Shop Local” events in my home where I invited fellow local business owners to set up a display of their products and invited our friends, families, and neighbors to come mingle and shop. The events were a big success and kept getting bigger. After seeing the response from the community and seeing the businesses do so well, I just knew I needed to make my bigger vision happen. So, I picked up the phone and called the Town Center and pitched my idea for a pop-up store curated of local makers. After our three months pop-up ended, was right when the pandemic hit. I took that time to really evolve our platform to continue the mission to help local businesses thrive by putting them in front of the community.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Things happened super fast. I had my meeting with the town center in the summer and was opening the store by the middle of October. I had a lot to figure out and learn. I quickly learned that picking up the phone to talk to someone over the phone was the best way to learn what to do. Whether it was the insurance agencies or getting permits, I was just very honest with them that I was new at this and just simply asked for their guidance. And they were more than happy to help. Due to my unique concept, I almost thought I couldn’t get insured. After weeks of trying to find an agency to work with me, I had finally found one. But, after a few weeks they said they couldn’t help. And at this time, I was already supposed to have the keys to the store to get ready. Then being Florida, a hurricane was coming and further delayed getting our start in the store. I went from having two months to five weeks to get the store ready. On top of opening a store, I also needed to get makers to be in the store. Not having anyone know who we were was a big challenge. I spent hours upon hours for months on social media trying to connect with local makers and get the word out about us. I was definitely nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get the number of makers I needed to open the store.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Thrive Local’s Pop-Up Store was created to help small businesses thrive in their communities by coming together under one roof. Where locals could easily shop, support, and connect with local businesses. Since our first pop-up store in 2019, we have expanded our efforts to support locals by building an online platform. Small businesses aren’t just faced with the struggle to have a physical presence. There is a big challenge to get discovered. Not only does it require so much time and effort, but it’s costly to pay for advertising and marketing. A lot of times a small business can’t afford to pay for a feature in a local magazine or online. We have a growing Online Directory of local businesses, a ‘lifestyle’ blog that features local products and businesses, in addition to our social media platforms to help locals discover local businesses and help their communities thrive.

What’s next?
Our second pop-up store is scheduled to open this Fall in the Space Coast at the Avenue Town Center. Locals will also be able to shop our store online. We are looking for a space to open year round as well as looking to do pop-up stores in other cities. And we are in the early stages of another way to connect local businesses to the community. We’re hoping to have that ready to go by late next year.

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