Baby Steps to Community Participation

Posted on August 05, 2009 by Kaila Westerman, TKB Trading, LLC | 0 comments

My business is a simple one. It boils down to buying large quantities of interesting stuff, packing said stuff into smaller quantities and then shipping it out to people who have the time and energy to play with it.

While it is gratifying to be part of my customers' creative cycle, the work is work. It's routine. I try to be very Zen, to see the task in front of me as meditation. But, during a recent "meditation" I calculated that I had been meditating for about 30,000 hours. Time to be enlightened!

In our neighborhood, there is a laundromat, Woody's Laundry and Drapes. I've known Woody for several years. He immigrated from China and started this laundry our rather rundown part of town. Later, he added a cafe. In addition to growing his business, Woody touches the people of this neighborhood. He began to host "outdoor movies" free for the neighborhood. He signed up to host the National Night Out parties. Does the neighborhood love Woody? Yelp has 48 positive reviews on his laundromat. Who reviews laundromats except the most rabidly loyal?

I am aware that my business also touches people, I get feedback along that line pretty much every day and I appreciate it. But this week, I commit to being more like Woody. I commit to taking baby steps to bring our business closer to having a positive impact on our immediate neighborhood.

Our first baby step is tomorrow when we take time out to repaint the building facade. Next step is to complete our "public" space by the end of August (right now it pretty much looks like a rainbow exploded in here).

In September, we will host a Maker's Meet. The Maker's Meet will be a by-invitation event for community leaders who work with the youth in our area in a creative way (art teachers, community organizers, etc). Our plan is to introduce them to what TKB does, what it has and what we know. I think once they get to know us, opportunities to impact will come at us like snowflakes in Minnesota: unique, soft, deep and cool.

Wish us luck!

Kaila Westerman
TKB Trading, LLC

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