Editor’s note: This week’s installment of “Storytellers” comes from Sr. Christine Martin, OSF. If you have a story to share, contact Cari Donaldson at firstname.lastname@example.org
I serve on the board of a nonprofit charitable organization which provides free and confidential business coaching for entrepreneurs in a rural six county area of Northwest Missouri. Last year Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (NWMEF) was privileged to assist some of our entrepreneurs who have a passion for retail. NWMEF sees great potential in these businesses and celebrates the success of their business start-ups.
While retail businesses in many small towns have folded up and faded away, these entrepreneurs have capitalized on their strengths and garnered the support of their rural communities to begin new ventures.
Two common elements which have led to business success are shared by our retailers. One is the ability to capture the right moment or seize an opportunity: “I have always wanted to do something like this. I was at a point in my career that I was ready for a change. This came up and everything fell into place,” says Stephanie Jakubs of Em’s Emporium, a floral and gift shop in Rock Port, MO.
The second element is the desire to offer a product which is needed or unique to the local community: “We wanted to be able to bring affordable natural environmentally friendly products to everyone,” says Cheryl Mitchell, co-owner of Miss Doyle’s Soapery and Wild Game Drops, Savannah, MO. “We had been making lotions, soaps and candles for friends and family for so many years, there started to be a demand for them.” Another one of our entrepreneurs concurs. “To me, life is about helping people and we found out that there is a need for headstones locally. We set out to help those people in need by providing headstones at competitive prices that are affordable,” comments Treasa Staton of Headstone Country Variety Store, LLC, in Grant City.
As a board member of this nonprofit organization, it is gratifying and heartening to see these retail businesses and store fronts spring up in our six counties. They, along with the other businesses NWMEF has assisted these past ten years, exemplify the NWMEF philosophy: when given a little encouragement and help, the creativity and passion of our local entrepreneurs can be enabled and shine forth.
This is the way our towns and rural areas can be transformed, one entrepreneur at a time.