The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) in Columbus, Ohio, has launched Shop NVMM, an online shopping portal focused on spotlighting merchandise from vetrepreneurs and VOBs. Items range from apparel to coffee to shaving products. The online store also provides a one-stop shopping experience for branded NVMM apparel and gift items for those who want to show their support for veterans and the NVMM.
Some vetrepreneur merchandise will be available for pickup from the museum while other items will be shipped directly from NVMM’s partner companies. “We’re serving as the catalyst for VOBs. We’re here to shine a light on them,” explains Tamara Brown, NVMM marketing and communications director. “What we see is with veterans…the transition can be challenging the longer they were in the service. You do see more veterans starting their own businesses. This is our opportunity to become a partner and make folks aware of merchandise from VOBs. It’s a good way to capitalize on both sides of it.”
There are a few restrictions on what can be sold—for instance, no alcohol or firearms—but Justin Locke, NVMM’s business development manager and a US Army veteran, said they may branch out into alcohol sales in Year Two, as so many veterans start small craft breweries or winemaking upon entering civilian life. “The products have to be in line with our brand,” Brown explains. “Nothing off-color, and nothing that is not in keeping with the NVMM. We prefer family friendly—we’re here to keep it wholesome and get good products out to people.”
This shop is a true partnership between NVMM and participating VOBs. “There aren’t a lot of channels for VOBs. We’re trying on our end to create that catalyst and shine a light on companies that people may not know were veteran-owned. We wanted to make sure they were well-represented and promoted on our end,” Locke said.
“It’s exciting to launch our efforts lifting up veterans in their next missions as business owners and operators,” said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter (Ret.), president and CEO of the NVMM. “It isn’t always easy for veterans returning to civilian life to find work, so they get together to start businesses and give back to their communities. By promoting vetrepreneurs and their goods, the NVMM is more than a museum—we are deeply and directly impacting Veteran lives.”
Veterans interested in being part of Shop NVMM can visit
shop.nationalvmm.org/pages/become-a-vendor to complete an application.