Providing Real Value to Community “Vetrepreneurs”

The Rosie Network ‘Veteran Business Showcase’ at Westfield Mission Valley Mall in San Diego shines a spotlight on businesses created by community veterans and military spouses.

As part of an ongoing partnership with Westfield Corporation, one of the world’s leading owners and operators of award-winning retail destinations; The Rosie Network recently hosted a business showcase and made a real difference in the lives of San Diego’s veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs.

A little over a year ago, Westfield began its Westfield Veterans Initiative (WVI) to support military personnel, veterans, and their families by providing career development assistance and entrepreneurial opportunities.  Thus far, Westfield employees have volunteered more than 300 hours of counseling and support in this endeavor.

The Rosie Network is a nonprofit serving military entrepreneurs and began working with Westfield earlier this year on ways to transform its shopping centers into physical touch points that create meaningful connections between veteran and military spouse businesses and our local communities.  The Veteran Business Showcase at Westfield Mission Valley in San Diego on July 8th did just that.

For an entire day, the busiest entrance to the shopping center was transformed with pop up stores featuring products and services of more than 20 local small businesses owned and operated by veterans and military spouses.

“Few small businesses have the opportunity to introduce and sell their products to the community at a high traffic venue like Mission Valley Mall,” said Stephanie Brown, military spouse and CEO of The Rosie Network.  “Thanks to Westfield’s ongoing commitment to our nation’s veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, we were able to make the kind of direct impact Team Rosie is known for and our military families need.”

Some of the participating businesses included:

  • INDUSTRIAL GRIND COFFEE — female veteran-owned and operated micro roaster
  • DICKINSON FARM & LARDER — veteran-owned organic, urban farm and small batch pantry
  • DOG IS GOOD — distributor of a lifestyle brand for dog lovers
  • INFINITELY FIT — female Marine veteran-owned and operated fitness and wellness center
  • COUNTRY REBEL — custom woodwork and design
  • NORTH AMERICAN FITNESS AND HEALTH — Navy SEAL owned and operated program providing opportunities for children to run, jump and PLAY
  • BIG DEV’S BBQ – Navy veteran serving straight from the grill, down-home BBQ

All showcased businesses may be found on The Rosie Network website. (http://TheRosieNetwork.org/news-events.php)

Along with live entertainment and other activities, Westfield Mission Valley shoppers were invited to show their appreciation to our servicemen and women by writing a personalized note or helping to create care packages for military service members deployed overseas and first responder communities here at home.  Hundreds of thoughtful letters and donated wish list items such as socks, mouthwash, dental floss, and tissues were collected at the event. To further support the cause, more than 20 Westfield retailers hosted special store promotions to show their own appreciation of the military community.

A local mural artist was invited by Westfield to create a magnificent, interactive art wall, entitled “Land That I Love.”  Visitors were prompted to write their own expressions of gratitude to military veterans and specify which freedoms they enjoyed due to the sacrifices made by our fighting men and women.

The Rosie Network Veteran Business Showcase at Westfield Mission Valley was a huge success,” said Big Dev, Navy veteran and founder of Big Dev’s BBQ. “We commend Westfield for creating a one-of-a-kind event that provided invaluable networking, increased brand visibility, and ultimately drove sales for so many small, veteran-led businesses in our community.”  To learn more about this event and The Rosie Network, please contact Beth Holland at bholland@therosienetwork.org.

Photo Credit: Justin Nunez Photography

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