LEAGUE CITY, Texas – Since the COVID-19 pandemic started really hitting the U.S. in March, things have been tough for a lot of people and places, and small businesses are no exception. But two separate business owners in Texas came together to help local small companies grow at a time when many are hurting.
Amy LeVick and Kim Sheffield had never met when they were each forced to shut the doors of their respective businesses, despite the fact that their consignment shop stores are just 2 miles apart.
Yet Sheffield, who has owned Changes Resale at 16916 Galveston Road in Webster for seven years, and LeVick, who has owned A Lot of Panache at 18339 Egret Bay Blvd. in Houston for 35 years, did not compete for customers when they were open before the pandemic.
“People would think we’re competitors, but it’s a very friendly composition,” Sheffield said of the two women’s consignment shops. “Amy and I always sent customers to each other’s stores.”
When the stores were closed down, the women would call each other just to say hi and see how the other was getting through everything.
Then, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began reopening the state.
“When it was getting time to open our stores again, we were talking about different ways to support each other,” Sheffield said. “We were a big resource for each other.”
That’s when the duo came up with the “We Rise by Lifting Each Other” campaign. The idea came after the two discussed how small business owners were really struggling. As they began to execute their plan, they had no way of knowing just how well it would work.
Initially, as the campaign began, a customer would pick up a card from one of the two stores, then turn it into the other.
Sheffield and LeVick got 150 entries within a month’s time.
“We both gained new customers,” LeVick said. “That’s the beauty of it going forward: We’re helping each other to grow our business.”
The winning entrant in the campaign drawing chose Upper Bay Frame and Gallery to lift up. So LeVick and Sheffield purchased a $50 gift certificate from the store and recorded a video there to help promote her business.
And the winner of WE RISE BY LIFTING EACH OTHER is…
Posted by Changes Resale on Saturday, July 11, 2020
“Because of this promotion — because you had to turn in your cards to the other store — I know a lot of my Changes customers went and saw Amy at beautiful Panache, and we were very happy to welcome a lot of Panache customers who had never been to Changes,” Sheffield said in the Facebook post above.
She added that another fun part of it was seeing the businesses the customers named on their entry cards, and how much support they have for them.
“It was really heartwarming to us, as business owners,” she said.
It’s important to note that at this step, because of support they saw from all their customers, Sheffield and LeVick wanted to pay it forward. They sent a letter to every single business that was named, to let them know there were people who cared enough to support them. They did it as a way of “lifting up” all the other businesses.
LeVick and Sheffield, who are part of a closed Facebook group of consignment business owners, said they told others in the group about how much traffic their campaign had created.
“Different stores all over the country got excited about doing it,” Sheffield said.
And instead of just wishing them luck, the women have provided all the things the other store owners will need to kick off their own local campaign.
While the recent endeavor created success for A Lot of Panache, Changes Resale and Upper Bay Frame and Gallery, LeVick and Sheffield are excited about the success that can come in the future, as well.
The duo has recently picked another area business to partner with in the campaign in August: Eagle Dancer in League City, which has been experiencing slow business due to the coronavirus pandemic and traffic changes in the area.
This time, customers at Eagle Dancer will pick up a card there and take it to either Panache or Changes Resale. Likewise, customers visiting Panache or Changes Resale will pick up a card at either of the stores and take it to Eagle Dancer. By doing this, each person is entered in a chance to win $150 in gift cards — $50 to be used at each of the three stores.
We can’t wait to hear your ideas!
Posted by Changes Resale on Monday, July 20, 2020
The women said they’re excited about what they have created, and they hope to continue to grow business for themselves, as well as others in the community, because supporting local business is so important for communities.
“For every $100 you spend at a local small owned business, $68 of it stays in our local community,” Sheffield said. “But even more (stays) at consignment shops.”
The two plan to pick other local businesses in the future to partner with in their campaign, and they’ll just switch out who that third business is.
“It is something positive when so much out there is negative,” LeVick said.