Local millennial-run companies are on a roll: joining up with other businesses makes our community stronger.
At the risk of sounding older than I feel, I am compelled to share how much the world seems to be changing from my perch as a business journalist.
It's not just in how goods and services are delivered or in how consumers are reached. The experience economy has redefined everything from how and where we shop to what media we consume and even to future generations' career choices. The canvas for new approaches appears to be unlimited.
Couple that with immense change affecting the news media. As the ranks of pretenders swell and position themselves alongside traditional practitioners, end runs are also on the rise. Getting a story published in a magazine or newspaper isn't the only way to get the news out. The 45th president of the United States regularly bypasses reporters and goes directly to constituents via Twitter. Even my 7-year-old grandson posts his own YouTube videos! As precocious as I might think he is, I'm sure many of his peers can do the same.
All of this is backdrop to why I was intrigued by a recent email with the subject line: “you. me. sushi. – join us for a private event!” The email from Zach Weprin, a resourceful entrepreneur I met last spring at an event for startups, touted a “live press release” designed to unveil details of a collaborative venture his sushi restaurant, FUSIAN, has undertaken with Alchemy Juice Bar + Café.
So there I was, a couple weeks later, fully immersed in an experience economy event, learning to roll sushi while hearing about a partnership FUSIAN and Alchemy developed to benefit a nonprofit the owners of both companies feel strongly about—Local Matters. The FUSIANxAlchemy collab runs through February.
In this creative cross-pollination, FUSIAN's four Columbus locations are offering the Alchemy Superfood Roll—the one I learned to make—featuring power foods such as tofu, brown rice, seaweed, avocado, beets, sweet potato, micro kale and crunchy puffed quinoa with dragon fruit sauce. Meanwhile, the FUSIAN Smoothie at Alchemy has orange juice, banana, pineapple, avocado, ginger, nori and spirulina. One dollar of each $9 item goes to Local Matters.
Local Matters will use the proceeds to support its work at Moler Elementary School. In addition to its core work of educating 500 South Side children in pre-K through 6th grade, Moler is working with Local Matters and others to operate as a community center with access to healthy foods, clothing and medical care. Local Matters helps with education on healthy food throughout the curriculum as well as afterschool programs. The beneficiary of the FUSIANxAlchemy collab hosted the media experience at its CareSource Community Kitchen on Parsons Avenue.
Back to how things have changed.
Inviting journalists to experience what marketers would like them to cover is not unique; in fact, tempting freebies and junkets are generally to be avoided. What's refreshing is the social enterprise approach of businesses combining forces to do good in their communities—a trend increasingly embraced by millennial-backed companies.
So FUSIANxAlchemy collaborating for Local Matters is an inspired, inventive application of the experience economy for the community good, right? Or is it just another example of the collaborative culture that finds Columbus businesses joining forces to address community needs?