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Copper retailers spread joy to employees and customers this season

Start your holiday shopping with these inspiring small business retailers

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Author photo: Katrina Oko-Odoi

Katrina Oko-Odoi

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

We're constantly inspired by our customers, from their innovation to their drive to succeed and their resilience in the face of challenges.

These past two years have been particularly volatile for small businesses, and we aren't out of the woods yet, with ongoing workforce shifts, the "great resignation" and severe supply chain disruptions. Still, many of our retailer customers are facing these challenges head-on and spreading joy, while they’re at it.

In celebration of Small Business Saturday, we're turning the spotlight on Copper retailers with inspiring company cultures who are dedicated to offering their employees meaningful work — while offering thoughtful products to their customers.

And who knows? You might just find some gifting inspiration for your holiday shopping. We certainly have!

5 retailers who encapsulate the season of giving

These retailers are just a small sampling of the countless customers that have bravely navigated the tumultuous waters of the last couple of years while maintaining incredible company culture and customer relationships. They deserve a warm round of applause — and your consideration when searching for that perfect gift this season.

Coffee Hound Coffee – Craft coffee retailer

Using the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Model, Coffee Hound Coffee created its core values around its founding members' best attributes. With a combination of peer and supervisor recognition, the company works to ensure the employees feel recognized for their dedication.

Coffee Hound Coffee utilizes gift cards, family-style lunches and weekly staff meetings to keep the team inspired and connected. They also compensate employees well with above-average salaries, flexible hours and remote working options.

As a veteran-founded and women-owned business, this Maine-based company takes pride in offering small farm-grown, small-batch roasted coffee to customers around the world.

Shop at Coffee Hound Coffee here.

Made Trade - Ethical, sustainable retailer of home goods, clothing and more

Made Trade has been fully remote since 2018, with a completely distributed, "small, but mighty" team. So, when the pandemic hit, they were uniquely positioned to handle the rapid changes.

The company has a crystal-clear mission of providing ethical and sustainable goods, and they do so with a talented team built on trust. “We believe business should be a force for good,” Cayley Pater, Founder and Co-Owner of Made Trade, says. “Our company's mission is to celebrate small, independent makers, women and people-of-color owned businesses, USA made products, vegan products, handcrafted objects and heritage art forms, and the fair and ethical treatment of people and our planet."

Made Trade believes in autonomy and allows its employees to work on their own terms. In fact, during the pandemic, they ditched Slack for a less-intrusive alternative, Basecamp.

Pater explains, "We were all getting tired of the tap, tap, tap, on the shoulder and the always-on mentality that came with the green status dot. Slack was hurting our productivity and attention more than it was helping us.” She says that since alleviating her team of the constant chat, and with fewer meetings, the team accomplishes more, and seems generally happier without frequent interruptions. Even an established remote company can learn a few new tricks now and again.

Shop at Made Trade here.

Maple Valley Cooperative - Organic and sustainable maple syrup

Michelle Pedretti, Marketing & Communications Manager, says it best: "Culture is not ping pong tables or a free workout room. It's the people you hire and the values you have as a collective, or in Maple Valley's case, as a cooperative."

Maple Valley Cooperative values authenticity, communication, kindness and quality, and they're committed to the sustainability of their people, the earth and their communities — and of course, producing delicious, organic, high-quality maple syrup products.

Maple Valley supports its employees by allowing them to have autonomy and authority over their positions and by encouraging everyone to speak up and ask questions. They also get the added perk of employee-priced maple goodness!

The company has faced challenges with turnover in production and shipping, but the team has collectively learned a lot during this time. Now, they're growing, with a unified team ready to evolve, innovate, and grow.

Shop at Maple Valley Cooperative here.

Priority Wine Pass - Virtual and in-person wine tasting

As a female-owned and family-owned company, Priority Wine Pass encourages its employees to put family first. They do so by offering scheduling flexibility, so their employees (mostly working moms!) have plenty of time to be present with their families.

They keep their employees engaged with incentives for closing deals and free products and experiences. Founder Jamie Cegelski-Gaebe says, "We're a small business, so the more they help us grow, the more benefits for them in the long run."

Like others on the list, Priority Wine Pass faced its fair share of challenges in the past year, but they adapted quickly by transitioning from wine-only experiences to offering a bit of everything: beer, tequila, whiskey, mixology, cheese, “chefinars,” chocolate, holiday events and more. They also partnered with international companies to help expand (Priority Experiences is the virtual event arm of their biz).

(Pssst! If you book a virtual event for 20 people or more and mention that you heard about them from Copper, Priority Wine Pass will give you a free choice of wines, beers, or cocktail packages as a thank you!)

Shop Priority Wine Pass & Priority Experiences here.

Apothecanna - CBD cosmetics company

Empathy and customer service are the cornerstones of Apothecanna's culture. As a CBD brand with the mission of spreading the wisdom of traditional plant medicine to facilitate access to the healing powers of nature for all, they work to truly empathize with their customers' needs, and they hold that same compassion for their employees by aiming to treat everyone with respect, kindness and professionalism.

Apothecanna has a unique way of keeping their employees inspired and the customers' needs top of mind. Once a month, they have an all-hands meeting where the Customer Service team reads customer reviews aloud.

"The stories our customers send us and post on our site are incredibly inspirational; they affirm why we come in every day,” says CEO Jeff Henretig. The team also uses those reviews as critical feedback to improve their product and commitment to their customers.

The pandemic required Apothecanna to rapidly adapt its manufacturing and fulfillment procedures. Henretig praises the team's adaptability in the face of these challenges, which enabled them to continue operating “without missing a beat.” The company has prioritized safety throughout the pandemic, despite the challenges of working together from afar.

Shop Apothecanna here.

Supporting retailers who support others

These five inspirational retailers exemplify the power of company culture, compassion and meaningful work. So this Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season, consider shopping small and choosing businesses that always put people and relationships first.

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