Throughout the year, we are highlighting notable women in our community. We want to spotlight those who are shaping where we live and giving back to our neighborhood. Do you know someone you think we should feature? Let us know in the comments!
Local businesses are the heartbeat of our area. They bring growth and innovation, provide employment, support the local community, and care for their neighbors. They are what makes our corner of Charlotte so unique and sought after. And while this has been a very challenging year for small businesses, they also have an amazing champion in their corner. We are thrilled to introduce our Notable Woman for this month, Erin Hunter of Let’s Meet CLT, who is on a mission to empower local businesses and strengthen the fabric of our community.
Erin, tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to launch Let’s Meet CLT.
Born and raised in Charlotte, I have a love for the city! I only left briefly to attend college at Appalachian State University where I studied Marketing and Economics. Upon returning home, I partnered with a start-up (at the time) Welcomemat Services to connect new movers with local Charlotte businesses. After 2 years, I expanded my career journey and started working at Aramark in their Refreshment Services Division (this may also explain my love for coffee!). I enjoyed climbing the corporate ladder and traveling the Southeast as a Territory Sales Manager, but, when our daughter was born in 2014, traveling was no longer an option. So, I left Aramark to start the new adventure of helping support the local business in our community full-time. Watching your city boom is awesome and seeing small businesses thrive is an incredible feeling!
Where does your passion for championing local businesses come from?
Getting to hear their stories. Every business owner has one. They have families, are involved members of the community, and are all trying their best to make a difference. They need a cheerleader, and I love having the opportunity to support!
We all want to do our part. What are some ways we can best support local businesses?
Share their story! Did you have an awesome experience? Have a wonderful meal? Receive excellent customer service? Share it! When you share your experience, it creates a domino effect. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful tool a small business can have. As consumers, we tend to share the negative, but really need to share all the positive. It can truly make a difference.
How can small businesses and local residents alike get involved in Let’s Meet CLT?
Small businesses that want to connect can email me or call me! Happy to help! If you are in the Charlotte community, we would love to have you visit our website when you are looking for your next small business to visit.
What is the best part of your job?
Connecting with the community.
What’s next for Let’s Meet CLT?
We are currently working on a subscription box of the city. We want people to get out and experience Charlotte by meeting many of our small businesses.
You are also very involved in Plaza Midwood Merchants. We are loving the organization’s newest project, Thomas StrEATery. Tell us about it.
The StrEATery is a collaboration between the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association, the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, and Stroll & Roll Plaza Midwood. Made possible by the City of Charlotte’s Street Eats program, this project is intended to:
- Expand the outdoor seating capacity for all area restaurants
- Enhance the character, walkability, and vibrancy of the business district
- Encourage visitors to come out and enjoy all that Plaza Midwood has to offer
The StrEATery is a food court + public plaza with lots of restaurant choices and a relaxed, self-serve, picnic-style dining experience. Visitors can eat and drink any time during normal restaurant hours – breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
We recently added live music and are working on some other activations to bring people out to the StrEATery.
As a Charlotte native and long-term Midwood resident, what are some of the positive changes you have seen in our neighborhood over the years?
It has become much more pedestrian-friendly. It is also great to see the variety of businesses that have opened over the last couple of years.
We know it is hard to pick favorites, but what are some neighborhood spots that you and your family frequent?
What is one piece of advice or lesson you have learned that you can share with other aspiring female leaders in our community?
Do not be afraid to ask for help. People love to help other people and the connections and relationships that you can make when you do can open so many doors.
To see more of what’s happening in Charlotte and meet some local businesses near you, visit the Let’s Meet CLT website.