A meaning place, is a place where a person can create meaning, either alone or with others. Public places which support meaning, often through community, include schools, libraries, museums, parks, beaches and other venues supporting nature and / or culture. Another set of public places that can support meaning, are small local retail establishments, where proprietors recognize, acknowledge and serve customers. Additionally there are many retail places, where customers create meaning simply by being there. Places like bookstores, food establishments, and nurseries provide nurture through knowledge, meals, and plants.

However, Main Street America is in crisis. Small privately owned stores, many of whom are experiencing increased overhead in many dimensions are particularly hurt by new forms of competition having the effect of driving down their margin at the same their costs are going up. The net impact of globalization and large entity domestic retail competition is reducing the sustainability of small local businesses.
Sensing this crisis, SVII launched a Meaning Place meeting in January 2011 with Hometown Peninsula, bringing the innovators and small business owners to have the conversation together. There is no doubt that local stores need to reinvent their business to stay in the game, but how?

Video from SVII’s first MeaningPlace event. Also, see the event recap

People agree that local business plays a significant role in response to local needs and has a “hometown advantage” over big store chains. To use this advantage, local business owners need to build one-on-one relationships with their customers and get to know more than just their buying preferences. Humans derive much meaning through conversational exchanges with those they have good relationships with. In general meaning requires in-person relationship building accelerates rapport and rapport.

This program is a long run to help local business owners to think about what kind of meaning they can provide to their customers as well as to the local communities. To know more about the details, please email to


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