Interview with Erin’s Elderberries: A Community Business

My business is my hobby, which allows me to make decisions based on community growth, instead of dollars in my pocket.

It allows me to take a little more risk, but that has a high community reward. I also make sure I am still front and center to those who have always supported me. While I may have a lot of help nowadays for all Erin’s Elderberries does, I don’t sit at home or go on trips all the time – I go to markets and connect, or I’m in the store to connect with everyone. My customers know if they reach out, I will be there.

“I tell people my start was mainly to help people and share our family’s story so that others might benefit from it. The selling at markets was me – as a stay-at-home Mom – wanting to get out of the house two Saturdays a month, to talk to adults about things other than potty training! But it evolved into being very community-focused. I started it because I care about kids and health and, in that, I was out in the community at large, seeing kids, families, business owners – their struggles, their accomplishments. I felt very connected to that. I wanted to be a positive impact on that.

I respond to emails myself. If there’s an issue, I handle it. If someone wants to meet me, I will make sure they do. I post things on social media that I want to connect to my followers with – or want them to understand about me. Many feel they know me without ever having met me, and that is what I always want, no matter how large my company grows.”

Managing Local Events

But also my son… Lucas. He’s really the inspiration behind it all. He had the idea for a Pokemon trading card day. He wanted to watch a movie outside one night and I thought – we should do this at the shop, for our community. I guess I think of things I feel kids and people in our area would like to do, and I give them a place to do it! You know, as far as strategy goes, I think it’s good because it helps get the name out there. People visit just for that and then come in and learn about us.”

“I grew up with my Mom throwing some awesome parties, and I watched and learned as a mentor of mine ran our local farmers market… which led me to take a job in a local town as their Event Coordinator, so I could build up their farmers market for them and lay a good foundation for success. So I guess it was only natural when I had my own “space” that I would facilitate things that would bring the community together in fun ways.

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