This article was originally posted on the Green Alliance blog on July 22, 2011 and was written by Green Alliance writer Jim.
Many know the Green Alliance for our community co-op, designed to bring green businesses and sustainability-minded consumers together.
Somewhat lesser known, however, is how the GA businesses themselves have used our organizations to foster unique partnerships and barters – barters which benefit both parties and help foster a greater sense of community within our ranks.
Take ZESstudio and Visions Kitchens. While the two companies – the former an all-purpose graphic design firm; the latter a green-focused kitchen design company – might seem to fall on different ends of the business spectrum, they do have one important thing in common: the desire to grow.
ZES owner Zach Smith and Visions principle designer Nathan Johnson were put in touch by GA Director Sarah Brown, after Johnson mentioned he was looking for an overhaul of his company’s website. Smith, who had previously done work for GA Business Partners Colonial Stoneworks and Green Maids, was more than eager to help.
He was also eager to get going on a full-on kitchen renovation. With that, the two consummated a good-old fashioned barter -- with a green twist.
It was only after meeting Johnson’s partner, Ernie Proper, that both realized the two’s ties actually went back much further: 15 years ago, Ernest Proper, Johnson’s partner at Visions, was a scoutmaster Smith’s. As it turns out, Johnson – who like Smith, went on to become an Eagle Scout – was in the Boy Scouts around the same time.
Small world, indeed.
Smith, meanwhile, was in the process of overhauling the entirety of his home, which had been built in the 1980s. While this reporter can’t speak for the rest of the house, Nathan Johnson and Visions’ contribution was nothing short of transformative – stunning, even.
“The kitchen looks awesome,” exclaimed Smith. “He did an amazing job – a huge improvement over what was there before.”
Needless to say, Johnson’s new website wasn’t too shabby in its own right.
“The website is so much better than the last one,” noted Johnson.
For Director Sarah Brown, the ZES-Visions barter is just another example of how her organization has grown to include a robust business-to-business ideal.
“What we’re always trying to do is foster community,” she said. “Most of the time that means bringing together green businesses and like-minded consumers, but we can’t forget how important it is that the businesses themselves forge partnerships that benefit both parties. And what Visions and ZES has done is a perfect example of that dynamic.”