Here at CarolRoth.com, we love to shine the spotlight on the small business community, because there are so many amazing small businesses out there that get it right when it comes to customer service, quality, branding and more. So, with that in mind, we asked the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share the small biz love and highlight their favorite, lesser-known small businesses. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
1. Asset Genie
This is a long standing material vendor for one of my companies that has been extremely cooperative during disagreements and product issues we've had. It's literally a no questions asked attempt to remedy the issue on their side. Plus, they supply crucial material for the operation of the company! They're epically helpful and pleasant to deal with.
2. Experience, Don't Just Visit
When traveling to a new city, it is hard not to get caught in a tourist funnel. By tourist funnel, I mean visiting, eating and playing at the same places as everyone else visiting the city. Our favorite small business is Parkway Bakery and Tavern, a 100 year old local business in New Orleans, Louisiana, serving some of the best po' boys you have to try when visiting. If you want a real taste of New Orleans, Parkway offers a family owned restaurant experience for both locals and visitors around!
Luca Alessandrini of FUHWE
3. Dingle House - Close to Home
The Dingle House: Irish Pub & Grub is a quaint pub below the Kingsgate Transportation office. It is located in West Chester, OH and provides drinks & food that soothe the soul. The transportation/logistics industry is not an easy one to be in. The Dingle House allows Kingsgate employees to take a mental break and feed their belly & then after work, unwind with a good beer, co-workers and friends!
If you're ever in West Chester visit Dingle House & there's a good chance we'll be there too!
4. Carol Roth's Newsletter
My favorite small business is Carol Roth's Newsletter. It's interesting, informative and fun.
5. Crowd-Pleasing Pizza in LA
My fiancé and I moved to Los Angeles about three months ago and one of the first restaurants I discovered alone (while waiting for him to finish a meeting) was Evo Kitchen on Sunset. We've since gone at least a dozen times and have told a number of new friends about it. Family owned, Evo serves yummy pizza and other casual dishes with organic ingredients, and they have something to meet every dietary need and preference. The servers are always friendly and I feel at home in the cozy space.
6. Another Complaint? No Problem!
PR Leap is a news release distribution service, one of many utilized by PR people. The proprietors, two brothers named Mario and Merrick, could not be nicer or more helpful. I had to go back to them umpteen times for one overly fussy client, and they patiently helped me with explanations, even posted for me when I was unable to complete the procedure myself. They've recently added new features and capabilities. Great guys, great service. www.prleap.com
7. Brewing Something Fabulous!
Old Town Coffee, Tea & Spice won my heart in 1980. Thirty-six years later (still under original ownership), I remain a loyal customer - even though I’m in California! The cozy ambiance harkens back to yesteryear and is matched only by the staff’s friendliness and product knowledge. When in 2015 building rents went up, it looked like the shop would close. The hue and cry of fans echoed Alexandria wouldn’t be the same. Happily, the search for a new address yielded one just a block away.
8. It's Time to Get to Work!
And there's no better place to do it than in the Get To Work Book!
The creator, Elise Blaha Cripe, has created a combination 'daily planner and goal-setting workbook' to help you keep track of what's in your head and, more importantly, to get stuff done.
And who doesn't need to get more done?
If you're looking for a spot to jot down ideas, list goals and steps for reaching them, and keep track of daily to-do's, check out this product and small biz!
9. Phone Drs' Script for Success
I dropped my phone recently and found myself in the painful position of needing a repair in order to regain the online tether that I evidently need in my life. I went to a local Phone Doctor store and was impressed with their service, none of which was amazing- it was the basics:
1) They greeted me immediately and got me in and out quickly.
2) They offered a bottle of water while I waited in line.
3) They had my phone ready and waiting exactly when they promised.
It's the little things...
10. Crafty Kits that Empower Girls
I am such a fan of HandcraftedHoneyBee.com for so many reasons. First, they make amazing, natural products. More importantly, they create DIY kits for girls ages 12 & up (boys & adults too). Each individual kit comes packed with a craft that uses both the thinking and creative sides of the brain to make either deodorant, lip balm, lip gloss or clay masks. Kids can then sign up as part of the Honeybee Heroine online group for activities and information. This business is special and the real deal!
RedflyMarketing.com and owner Dave Davis, recipient of 3 Ivy League degrees and the highest ranking adwords contributor in the WORLD, is my favorite small business. Google rewards his efforts and expertise with the first opportunity to test new adwords products.
12. Savor the Flavor of Africa!
When Jainaba Jeng came to the U.S., she yearned for the flavors she'd known growing up in The Gambia, a tiny country in western Africa. The foods didn't exist in the U.S., so she did what any smart, talented entrepreneur would do -- she created them.
Jainaba made it her mission to introduce the exotic cuisine of Africa to Americans. Today her delicious, Kitchens of Africa simmer sauces can be found in grocery stores like Whole Foods and on her website, www.KitchensOfAfrica.com.
13. Social Good, Cup by Cup
Dean's Beans, a coffee roaster in Orange, MA, has forced the whole industry to acknowledge that paying fair-trade or better prices to farmers cannot just create a profitable business but also, fund village-led development projects in the coffee villages. Every bean is organic and fair-trade or better since starting the company in 1993.
Photo: CEO Dean Cycon having fun in Rwanda
14. This Man is a Rhino
David Hyner is a man on an education mission. His small company speaks to over 50,000 school children a year.
He also challenges Captains of Industry and sports people to achieve at the highest level. Seeing him speak and deal with his customers (in over 100 countries) shows you what a pack of pens, a suitcase, and a quality service standard can do to take a small one man band to an international audience.
Carl Barton of In4rm
15. Believe in Your Business
Float Harder, located in Portland, Maine, is my favorite small business. Float Harder is a float space facility that targets to a specific niche, delivers amazing service and provides a product that the owners and staff fully believe in. I love any business that believes in what they do!
16. It Takes 2 to Tango
I love Tango Card. Their service lets us send e-gift cards to customers, partners, and employees as rewards and incentives. And it works!
17. Passionate and Committed
Table and Chair Express is on point when it comes to their commitment and passion for going out of their way to assure their customers' expectations are fulfilled every time with excitement.
Responding to their customer's emails in a timely and considerate fashion is a daily occurrence, with tangible energy that excites their customers to come back. Their customers enjoy buying from a business who genuinely loves what they are doing, which transfers over to their content purchasing from them. https://www.tableandchairexpress.com.au/
18. Vivi's Cater's Rocks!
I absolutely love this company. Vivi’s Cater's is a Christian company that operates with integrity. The food is absolutely AMAZING. Chef Vivi is a master cook with delicacies for any palate.
19. Country Farm, Digital Victory
We work with over five thousand small businesses, but Dalby Farm in Scituate, MA models how traditional business can thrive in the digital age. Not only do they run a successful farm, but their work in the preservation of rare breeds of animals heavily involves their community--the hallmark of an excellent business. While other small businesses clamor to acquire needless fans on Facebook, Dalby Farm continues to do what they've always done: provide meaningful real-life experiences for people.
20. My Favorite Small Business
My favorite small business is San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee (www.gourmet-coffee.com). They are a family operated small business that sells high quality organic coffee. I love supporting my fellow small business owners for many reasons, but the most important one is their top notch personalized customer service. Their brand message conveys to me a sense of responsibility and pride in their coffee beans. The quality of the beans are always top notch and the taste is very consistent.
21. The Perfect Blogging Companion
As a blogger, I'm always looking for tools or services that make my job easier, but with so many products on the market, it can be hard finding quality services. CoSchedule is one product worth the money. They put just as much effort in building their platform for end users as branding their product. The UI/UX is AMAZING! The company does a great job marketing, from email to their blog to social media, the gang at CoSchedule have created an invaluable tool for content marketers and bloggers alike.
22. Cleobella Customer
My favorite small business is called Cleobella. Their clothing & accessories are carried in retailers worldwide, but their only shop is near my home in Southern California. Product, packaging, branding, & design is perfectly bohemian. Styles are always ahead of the mainstream fashion curve. While buying a bag for my sis, I chatted with Lacee, an employee. She soon sent me a note in the mail wishing me luck on the projects we spoke about. WOW! They make sure everyone leaves with a smile & style.
23. Make Your Event Shine!
Do you have an event coming up and you're looking for the perfect event planner? Tamika Josephs-Smith, CEO and Event and Marketing Consultant for Diamond Event Services, LLC, knows how to make your event shine and have people asking, when are you planning the next event? Sought out by industry leaders, she has planned numerous events for clients to include conferences, workshops, weddings and other corporate and social events. Connect with Tamika to find out more.
24. Ella's Kitchen
Founded by a father who wanted a healthier option for his children and named after his daughter, Ella's kitchen have managed to make a huge impact on the UK baby food industry (a fifth of baby food sold in the UK is Ella's Kitchen) and have recently expanded to the states too. Despite having just 55 employees, they've established themselves as one of the most exciting businesses currently operating in the UK. Plus, women account for three-quarters of their work force, which is great!
25. Reinventing Wedding Programs
My favorite small business is called The Album Factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Instead of boring wedding programs that people throw away, they specialize in magazine-style programs that people will keep long after the wedding is over. Why? The Album Factory encourages the couple to tell their story, but to also highlight their guests. Would you throw away a program that you're featured in? Great concept and a great crew of people.
26. Amazing Business Education
Erik Therwanger is a local business coach and public speaker who is an amazing leader. He and his wife Gina, who started a company called Think Great, exude enthusiasm, focus and determination. Erik is a former Marine and Gina is a 4 time cancer survivor. They use these experiences to empower business people and support Veterans through powerful storytelling. Amazing, caring people building a phenomenal business. www.thinkgreat90.com
27. Drunk Stoned Or Stupid
Drunk Stoned or Stupid (DSS) rose to fame after their successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $10,000 that helped them launch their game. Since its launch, Drunk Stoned or Stupid has taken off on Amazon and is now the #2 game for the 18+ crowd. The game was created by twenty-something brothers, Trevor and Noah Mayer, and their father, Andy Mayer (the “Mayer” in the highly successful worldwide book production company, “becker&mayer!”): drunkstonedstupid.com/
Do you know any great lesser-known small businesses that weren’t included? Please share your thoughts below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!