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What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

Time: 2017-03-13 12:33cheongsam dress Click:

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

Five Bluffton businesswomen shared the podium and their thoughts about being a business owner in a small town during Friday’s chamber breakfast.

PHOTOS IN THIS FEATURE ARE
BY JAMIE NYGAARD

The five included a barber, dress consignment shop owner, online fabric business owner, funeral director and sports apparel shop owner.  The moderator owns a promotional products business.

Panel members were Karen Fredritz of Bluffton Barbers, Rachel Davis of Studio Silhouette, Alice Essinger of Fresh Modern Fabric, Shirley Wagner of Chiles-Laman Funeral and Cremation Services, and Natalie Mueller of Sports Warehouse. Melinda Bowden of PromoHits! served as moderator.

Here’s a summary account of questions and answer during the program.

What’s unique about you being in business in Bluffton?

Karen: I like to clean up my guys.

Alice: I offer fabric that has created a following.

Natalie: My ability to customize set me apart.

Shirley: I’m the first-ever woman funeral director in Bluffton and in the Chiles business.

Your business challenges?

Natalie: Being a mother of three – balancing work and family. My kids walk from school to the store in the afternoon.

Alice: I try to wear all the hats. Some don’t fit well.

Karen: My challenge is getting time for lunch.

What keeps you up at night?

Shirley: The phone.

Natalie: Deadlines. I think I’ll forget something.

Rachel: When I close, especially during prom season I might be in the store until 1 a.m.

What’s your next business step:

Karen: I’d love to have a second barber in the shop.

Alice: I want to branch out into my own website from Etsy. I want to offer more patterns and kits.

Natalie: Website development.

Rachel:  A move more toward a bridal store.

Shirley: I want to become more involved in the community.

What services do you offer that might surprise people?

Shirley: We’ve started pet cremation services.

Alice: I have customers from a very wide international base.

Natalie: People continually notice things in the store that they didn’t realize we offered.

Karen: I offer full shaves and better suckers for kids (audience laughs). The shaves are 20-30 minutes with a straight blade. I also cut women’s hair.

Rachel: Alternations. People think it’s a lost art.

None of you grew up in Bluffton. Why are you here?

Shirley: I looked for a community where we could raise our family. Bluffton fits me. It’s a small little gem in the world.

Natalie: We moved to rural Bluffton because my husband worked in Findlay and I worked in Lima. This was in the middle.

Rachel: I grew up in Pandora. When we got married we decided to come to Bluffton.

Karen: We lived in Pandora 16 years. Our oldest three children graduated from P-G. Our youngest three from BHS. We bought a building on Main Street.

What makes Bluffton a great place?
(Long pause before answering)

Natalie: You can buy most everything you need here without going to Lima or Findlay.

Shirley: We have an amazing downtown. When we came here we immediately  realized how busy it is.

Karen: The people who live here make it really special.

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

What's it like being a woman business owner in Bluffton?

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