An Office Redesign Opens the Opportunity to Support Businesses You Believe In
Offices and workspaces act as reflections of a business’s personality—they can be funky, serious, modern, rustic. But these spaces are also a representation of a business’s values—a chance for companies to share with employees and clients the mission of their organization through intentional purchases. Whether you’re setting up a new office or redesigning a current space, you can choose to support local artists in your community and purchase from companies with a stated mission to have a positive impact in the world.
Rockridge Venture Law has offices in Chattanooga and Cookeville, Tennessee, and Durham, North Carolina. We challenged ourselves to live our values during our recent Cookeville expansion. As a Certified B Corporation law group, we wanted to support people creating in our community and fellow purpose-driven businesses so our clients could be exposed to the stories of these companies as they worked with us.
Data supports that purchasing from local retailers has a positive multiplier effect—these businesses are more likely to spend a higher percentage of the dollars we spend with them within our communities, thus multiplying our positive impacts therein. According to a review of more than a dozen studies, the American Independent Business Council estimates that, on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses gets recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.
One of the pieces in our office is the product of a trade passed down locally through generations of one family.
“I grew up working for my dad and his leather shop, as the third generation in this industry,” says Jay Bauman, a member of the nearby Amish-Mennonite community Muddy Pond and a Rockridge client who started his business 15 years ago in the basement of his house.
Bauman does more than make amazing products—he has donated items to charity auctions in the past and has spent 12 years as a volunteer firefighter for his local fire department. And Bauman says working with a fellow local business makes his time spent with the Rockridge legal team feel personal, “not like a big corporation.” It echoes the feelings we have about buying a one-of-a-kind rug from him.
Ripples of Impact
The dollars our businesses spend make further positive impacts when we support others with a mission beyond profits. For example, we are also a 1% for the Planet member company, meaning at least 1% of our sales (in the form of retainers) are donated to nonprofits working on environmental and climate issues. You can read more about our nonprofit partners here.
To reinforce our commitment to community and other businesses that give back through their actions, we make conscious decisions to partner with other B Corps and 1% for the Planet members. These include Freezeout Coffee, another purpose-driven business founded with protecting the planet in mind that became a 1% for the Planet member earlier this year.
In launching Freezeout Coffee in Duncans Mills, California, Jim Cole saw a market for an artisanal coffee company that gives back to the environment—what he calls his company’s “whole reason for being”—by sharing part of its revenue with environmental stewards—including Sonoma Land Trust.
“Consumers are responding, and in our first two years we’ve channeled more than 20% of revenue to land preservation in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco,” he says. “Not long after we started Freezeout Coffee, we learned of 1% for the Planet and quickly decided it made perfect sense for us to be part of a much larger community and movement of businesses that want to make a positive impact in the world.”
When we signed up for Freezeout Coffee’s subscription service, Rockridge became its first B Corp customer. Cole says our buy-in felt like a “giant stamp of approval,” reinforcing his business concept that customers are looking to spend their dollars with companies that prioritize the environment.
What were Cole’s thoughts after receiving our order? “Wow—the exact people we are trying to reach understand us and believe in our vision,” he says. “Soon after Rockridge become a customer, they shared an Instagram post about Freezeout Coffee, and we really felt loved and that we truly are part of a powerful community that is remapping the future of business in this country.”
By supporting purpose-driven businesses like Freezeout Coffee, local artisans like Jay Bauman, and other companies that act as a force for good every day, Rockridge is living its B Corp values while creating an office space that provides a sense of place and a tie to our roots.
Additional office furnishings and supplies are sourced nationally from fellow B Corps Patagonia (branded apparel), Fully (furnishings), and Soma (water purification). Below are some additional images and descriptions on how we’ve lived our values in our office space—we hope we inspire you to find new ways to work with like-minded and local businesses!