Dreams aren’t just for fairy tales and Disney movies; dreams do come true in real life. At the start of COVID, the Springfield SBDC (Small Business Development Center) Executive Director, Rob Alexander, reached out to me looking for a retail expert to join their team of consultants. I had never done public sector work before and jumped at the chance to learn more and support small retail businesses in the area.
What is the SBDC?
When small businesses approach the SBDC, they receive expert help free of charge. The Springfield SBDC has won awards for the remarkable service they offer and the support they bring the Clark County community. They are one of the TOP 10 SBDCs in the country! The Ohio Small Business Development Center in Springfield was recently selected as the SBA Region VI’s SBDC Innovation and Excellence Award winner. Out of 101 centers in the six-state region, Springfield’s SBDC rose above for how it has creatively served small businesses in an area that has been devastated by population and job loss.
The Dream of a Fishing Store.
I have had the pleasure of coaching multiple entrepreneurs over the past 16 months. Two stand out and they are living their dream of owning their own retail business.
The first one is about an angler named Stone. He had a dream of owning a fishing store. Stone was ready to lead fishing expeditions in nearby waterways and bringing the joy of fishing to individuals and families in and around Clark County.
He created a rock solid business plan and went after his dream. While he was working on figuring out how to open his fishing store, a Bait and Carryout store became available. He bought it and is not only running a successful business, he is learning about retail and expanding the business. It all started with a dream to do more and be more. I am so proud that I was able to support Stone with the retail training he needed to be successful.
The Dream of a Women’s Boutique.
When Rob contacted me about helping a local entrepreneur open a women’s boutique on Fountain Street in downtown Springfield, I dropped everything and contacted Kristine. We hit it off from our first conversation and spent the past several months working side by side to help her bring this dream to reality.
Kristine did not have retail experience but that didn’t stop her. She was willing to do the work necessary to have a successful store. Her dream was to create remarkable experiences for her customers. To quote her, “I want my customers to feel like a million bucks when they shop here, but not have to spend a fortune”.
We met weekly, month after month. I helped her plan everything from fixtures, to merchandise assortment to store operations. Many of the meetings were via zoom. But the real fun began when we got to spend time in the store. Whether we were determining where fitting rooms should go, or how large the cashwrap should be, we planned every detail together. I listened to her share her ideas and pressure tested to ensure we were setting her up for success.
Time to Open.
Last week, we put the final touches on this beautiful shop. Last night, she hosted a private event and unveiled Firefly, the name of her boutique to her friends and family. It was an amazing event. So many months of hard work coming to fruition. We were all buying apparel and accessories. She is so talented and has a clear eye for fashion.
Firefly officially opens tomorrow at 10:30am EST and is located at 28 N. Fountain St. Springfield, OH.
Your Dreams Can Come True too!
I am so proud of Stone and Kristine and the journey they have taken to bring their dreams to life. They are now part of the “retail” family that I have known and loved for the past three decades.
If you have a dream to open a retail store, or grow your retail business, you owe it to yourself to chase after it. Feel free to reach out to me and let’s talk about it. Remember, “if you can dream it, you can do it.”
For more information about my business, visit http://runninggreatstores.com.
In your corner,