Online marketplace connects local businesses to new customers, communities
M&T Bank is featuring more than 50 of its business clients throughout seven states and Washington, D.C., on an online marketplace designed to connect the businesses to new customers and communities.
The “M&T Virtual Spotlight Shop” allows visitors of the bank’s website to easily access the online retail portals of businesses from Richmond, Virginia, to upstate New York. Visitors can search the businesses by region or category, shop their merchandise online, and learn more about their commitment to helping their communities thrive.
A press release stated, “The ‘Virtual Spotlight Shop’ is another way M&T, one of the nation’s most active small-business lenders, is demonstrating support for its communities and their local businesses – many of which were forced to adapt to new ways of operating because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Eric Feldstein, M&T’s head of business banking, said, “M&T is a bank for communities – including the communities of local businesses throughout the areas we serve that have shown remarkable resilience and determination to serve their customers during the pandemic. We want to support their recovery and growth by exposing them to the nearly 10 million visitors our website gets each month.”
Businesses featured in the “M&T Virtual Spotlight Shop” include bakeries and breweries, restaurants and retailers, pizza parlors and hair salons, art galleries and bookstores. Many of them are the businesses that line the main streets of towns and neighborhoods throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
Among the businesses in the “Spotlight Shop” are:
√ Althea’s Almost Famous, a Black woman-owned catering business inspired by the flavorful cooking of the owner’s Jamaican grandmother;
√ Arcay Chocolates, a Washington, D.C., shop owned by an internationally acclaimed Venezuelan chocolatier;
√ Funk Brewing, a craft brewery launched by a brother-in-law team that now has two taprooms in Elizabethtown and Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and distributes to seven states in the region;
√ Muddy Creek Soap Company, a woman-owned handmade soap and bath products retailer in West Reading, Pennsylvania;
√ Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, a family-owned independent bookstore in Lakewood;
√ Om Nohm Bakery & Café of Fredonia, a gluten-free bakery founded by a mother who learned to prepare a variety of foods for her children with dietary restrictions;
√ Sleeping Bird Coffee, a mobile coffee truck-turned-specialty coffee shop that serves espresso, pastries, sandwiches and more from its location in Wilmington, Delaware;
√ Pizza Amoré, a classic Buffalo Pizzeria featuring wood-fired pizza and wings; and
√ Orange Tree Inn, a family-owned-and-operated Niagara Falls restaurant famous for its homemade soups, beef on weck and Friday fish fry.
This is the third consecutive year M&T has featured some of its business clients in a “Spotlight Shop” – but the first it’s been open to businesses throughout M&T’s footprint. The bank tested the concept in Baltimore the previous two years.
In 2019, M&T launched its “Spotlight Shop” in a modular pop-up shop located in downtown Baltimore that featured 12 local retailers rotating through the space every two weeks for six months. Last year, M&T moved the “Spotlight Shop” online – a pandemic-inspired adaptation of the original concept – and again featured more than a dozen of its Baltimore-area business customers, including Boordy Vineyards, a 76-year-old family-owned business that returns to the “Spotlight Shop” for its third year.
“Boordy Vineyards has enjoyed a productive relationship with M&T Bank for three-and-a-half decades,” said Robert DeFord, president of Boordy Vineyards. “M&T has always been responsive to our needs, providing timely capital to allow us to take advantage of opportunities for growth. I cannot overstate how important this relationship has been for the success of our family business.”