A pair of friends in Waterloo Region have turned a passion project born in quarantine into a way to help millennials stay connected while supporting small local businesses.
The Happy Hour KW Podcast started as a way to help Emmeleane Fink and Laura Tuomi pass the time during the lockdown and now has many people in the community tuning in.
Each week the pair link up with a small business to promote all things local.
“We both love checking out local spots so we were like, ‘why don’t we do a local spot and just talk about anything, but feature a local place?’ Especially with COVID, it’s so hard because businesses need the business,” said Fink.
Each business is connected to a weekly theme like Sweet Dreams Tea Shop, bubble tea and body positivity, or Sonny’s Drive-In, where the theme was milkshakes and mental health.
“I think now what’s inspiring to us reaching out to brands and having a connection being local and being smaller. And so I think that’s kind of what keeps us going, is just the connection we’re making with companies and feeling like we can support each other in that way,” said Tuomi.
With many small businesses struggling during the pandemic, supporting local has become crucial to keeping their doors open.
For family-owned business Phlippens in Kitchener, connecting with the Happy Hour KW Podcast hosts has been a way to reach a new audience to help get their sauces on tables all over Ontario.
“Their support means everything. It’s nice to have people in the community support, meet new people, get your name out there,” said Ainslee Phlippen.
Although the podcast is aimed at a millennial audience, the duo says there is something for everyone.
“I feel like if you just listen to our conversation it almost feels like you’re a part of it. So if you’re at home and alone it kind of like takes you away for an hour or two because it feels like you’re in a conversation with someone else,” adds Fink.
While it’s just a side hustle for now, the ladies are excited to see what the future holds for Happy Hour KW.