Community Driven looks to support small businesses while growing concierge services

When Christina Ream put a shoutout on her Facebook business page a couple weeks ago asking if anyone would like to buy low-cost cases of flowers, she didn't expect quite the turnout she got.

Through her businesses, Community Driven, Ream had collected orders for more than 400 bouquets, for which she encouraged patrons to spread kindness by giving bouquets to random people throughout the city, business employees, family, friends, and anyone else whose day they might brighten.
 
“It’s all about paying it forward,” Ream says. “I wanted to facilitate creating a comfort in giving.”

Ream has spent the majority of her working life in retail jobs, but in November 2020 decided to take the leap into starting to get her own business.

“It’s my passion to help other people, and I decided I really have to embrace it,” she says.

At first, Ream considered starting a localized Instacart- and Door Dash-style business, and she felt like the pandemic could be the push she needed to get started.

“I felt like this could be something that could actually be really helpful during a pandemic,” she says. “My biggest goal eventually for the whole things is to do both delivery and errands.”

But, to help grow awareness of her business, Ream has started off by planning more focused “hauls” – like the flowers.

Ream had been in contact with The Flowerman flower shop in Centerville and worked with the owners to time the haul based on when the shop would be able to bring in a large inventory for a low cost.

During the last week of March, Ream posted on the Community Driven Facebook page that cases of about 15 bouquets each – depending on the type of flower – were available for $32. She opened a orders for about 24 hours.

“Anytime I can find a good partnership I can create with a small business – Springfield or otherwise – I want to try to jump on it to help that business penetrate into the community as much as possible,” she says. And with the more than 400 “pay-it-forward” bouquets that were purchased, she felt her goal was a success.

Some people who purchased flowers set a time for Ream to deliver the case to them. Others purchased a case and asked Ream to choose who to randomly gift the flowers to.

It took her multiple van loads, multiple tanks of gas and 48 hours between all the deliveries, but between Ream and others, flowers went to friends and family, Springfield business employees, Clark County Combined Health District employees, teachers and more.

“Sometimes you have to go through your own struggles to be able to spread kindness, and you don’t know how much even something small can really mean to someone,” Ream says. “I’m all about kindness and paying it forward. It doesn’t cost anything, and for me, that’s bigger than my business.”

Other “hauls” Ream has done since her launch include a Jubie’s Creamery ice cream delivery, a Schuler’s Bakery delivery for Valentine’s Day, and a gift card pickup day shortly before Christmas, in which she was available to pickup last minute gift cards from many Downtown Springfield restaurants and businesses and doorstep deliver them to customers.

“When I plan these, I want them to promote the business, but I’m also thinking about how I can make someone’s life more convenient and less stressful,” she says.

And that personal aspect is what she wants to carry over as she expands her business into concierge services. For an hourly rate, Ream herself would personally be available to run errands – think groceries, birthday party supplies, pet necessities, dry cleaning, or anything else you might just not have time for.

She would be available to interact one-on-one by text or phone during the errands to make sure her customers get what they need.

“It would be for the convenience of it – the time savings,” says Ream, a Greenon High School graduate. “You would get the products you need at the time you need them, but unlike shopping with bigger companies, the prices would not be raised. Instead, you’d pay an hourly service fee to cover business costs.”

Though Ream could run with her idea just about anywhere, she says she’s committed to pursuing her dream right here.

“I was born and raised here. I already know these businesses and their owners and the struggles they’ve faced in this last year. And my heart is here,” Ream says. “If you’re heart is here and you’ve been here all your life, why wouldn’t you want to help the place you know?”

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.

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