Small Business Saturday: A Celebration of Entrepreneurship | EDENS | EDENS
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Small Business Saturday: A Celebration of Entrepreneurship

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At EDENS, we proudly partner with 1,000+ small businesses across our 16.1 million square feet portfolio, spanning from Boston to Miami, across Texas, and westward in Denver. These businesses are integral in their communities’ tapestries, weaving their success into the overall health and prosperity of their neighborhoods.

An initiative created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday was founded to encourage our communities everywhere to get out, stroll your main streets with family and friends and support small businesses. For every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stay in the local community. So, when you Shop Small on Small Business Saturday—and all year long—this creates an impact in your own communities.

We interviewed a few businesses in each region to learn about their inspirations, what community means, and how they create impact through their unique, localized concepts.

Andrews Square: Simplyput Paper

Owner, Ashley Woodman

How did you start your business?

In 2000 I left a design firm and started designing invitations and announcements for friends while pregnant with my first child. Within two years, my custom albums and boxed notes were sold in over 300 stores throughout the US including Papyrus, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Kate’s Paperie. In 2005, I teamed with online stationer tinyprints.com to design a line of custom invitations and announcements for the “Simplyput exclusively for tinyprints” brand and when they were bought by Shutterfly in 2011 I teamed with Shutterfly to design a line of invitations and announcements under the “Between Friends exclusively for Shutterfly” brand.

As the climate for custom stationery products shifted from the retail buying experience to online shopping, I saw a decline in party invitations and birth announcements; yet the retail wedding and custom invitation business seemed to grow. So in 2011, I made the leap to open my first flagship store. By offering custom design by in-house graphic designers, several different types of printing methods – including letterpress, engraving, thermography and digital – and customer service, we were able to distinguish ourselves from online retailers.

Why did you decide on brick-and-mortar, and more importantly, what led you to partner with EDENS at Andrews Square?

As Atlanta grew so did we. A second location was a natural progression as was teaming up with EDENS at Andrews Square.

I have always loved the area and dreamed of having a location in the heart of Buckhead. Andrews Square has the energy and right mix of businesses that align with our brand and our personality. Customers just always seem to be in good moods when they walk into the store.

What has been the biggest impact your business has made in your community?

It’s been incredibly rewarding to discover how more brides think modern instead of traditional for stationary. We do LOVE designing invitations for benefits and non-profits. Learning about all of the different organizations and needs in our community has been eye-opening.

What advice would you give to aspiring business owners who want to follow in your footsteps?

Figure out what you love to do then find how you can fulfill a niche in that industry you’re targeting.

What does “Enrich Community” mean to you?

Enrich Community happens when a place can offer services and products that encourage people to laugh, talk and gather. It feels that way when we get to watch people browsing and loving our card wall and gift tables.

How did you start your business?
Upon moving to Denver in 2016, our founder Lexi noticed there was a thriving market scene, but at the time, a strictly vintage market didn’t exist. With growing popularity in resale apps like Depop, Etsy, Ebay, Poshmark and so on, there were a quite a few locals who were hustling hard to make vintage clothing their full time gig.

After reaching out to a handful of those local shops, three women responded with excited interest in creating Denver’s first strictly vintage fashion and goods market. One of those women was Emma, who is part of the now two-women team making up Old School Cool! We held our first vintage market in February of 2018 at a local salon that was generous enough to host us. Our first market involved only eight vendors, but it was a hit! Interest only grew from their from both shoppers and vendors, and we now host markets three times a year with upwards of 50 vendors.

This is our first jump from the market world into brick-and-mortar and we are thrilled. Our Old School Cool shop will feature 10 of our vintage fashion vendors showcasing a variety of styles and tastes for all genders. We are so excited to turn more people on to vintage fashion, and join the EDENS family.

Why did you decide on brick-and-mortar, and more importantly, what led you to partner with EDENS at RiNo?
We not only run the markets, but we are online vintage shop owners as well. It’s been quite the hustle building this as working women with multiple jobs. We knew having a physical location not only would make running the markets a bit easier but also give us some additional financial stability to put more focus into improving our personal and collective businesses.

With a collective model (our shop will feature 10 total shops within the walls) plus the help of EDENS, we are making it happen! EDENS saw the value in supporting small businesses like ours, and helping us get started in brick-and-mortar business.

What has been the biggest impact your business has made in your community?

The ability to support so many different entrepreneurs and their dreams have been a pretty big bonus to starting Old School Cool. We have been able to support over 70 different shop owners since we began! We made it a priority to partner with other local or small businesses as venues to increase visibility for everyone. Additionally, we have turned more locals on to shopping vintage and secondhand as a movement. We believe in consumption reduction as a business, and encouraging our community to consider vintage items, secondhand and reusing or upcycling before buying new.

What advice would you give to aspiring business owners who want to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t be afraid to take the chance, chase the dream, and put yourself out there. You 1000% can create something from nothing, and we are proud to be proof of that. Reach out, talk to people, collaborate and share ideas. I think you would be surprised at the magic that can manifest after saying an initial “hello.”

What does “Enrich Community” mean to you?
It means doing things that benefit not only ourselves, but the greater community in which we live. We firmly believe in this as a business model.

How did you start your business?

Ken’s Man’s Shop began in Garland in 1964. My father wanted to be in Dallas, but the brands he wanted to sell had exclusivity clauses, so he got around that by opening in Garland. The plan was to stay there for only five years, but we ended up there for 29. We moved to Preston Royal in 1993 and have remained here ever since.

Why did you decide on brick-and-mortar, and more importantly, what led you to partner with EDENS at Preston Royal Village?

We have always been brick-and-mortar, and even with the advent of online sales we will continue to prioritize our physical shop. It allows us to treat our clients how they expect and wish to be treated, but even more than that, it gives us the opportunity to go the extra mile with customer care and support.

What has been the biggest impact your business has made in your community?

We have now been at Preston Royal for 26 years. A whole generation has grown up with us, and some of our original clientele now also have their children shopping with us. We currently have about four generations shopping here.

We go out of our way to service our clients’ schools, churches and synagogues, and other community centers. We always want to be wherever our clients are. In addition, we have developed multiple charitable ways of giving back to the city, either through nonprofits, businesses, or hospitals. Seeing our name show up in a multitude of places gives our Ken’s clients a true understanding of our deep commitment and love for our city.

What advice would you give to aspiring business owners who want to follow in your footsteps?

Be generous with both your clients and your employees. Have open lines of communication with everyone, including your landlord. Remember that your customers are human beings, not numbers on a spreadsheet. Enjoy what you do, because that will show through every single day.

What does “Enrich Community” mean to you?

This goes back to the importance of having an impact and making a difference to people. Running a small business in this day and age is such an important and challenging role. In order to remain vital and relevant we must find new and unique ways to contribute to the community, and that is our perpetual goal.

Princeton: The Blue Bears

Co-Owner, Eric Wimmer
@thebluebears

How did you start your business?

The Blue Bears is the story of two families, one who loves cooking, the other with four adopted Down Syndrome Babies (on top of their own six children). The babies became adults, and the NJ school support stops at the age of 21. We wanted to give these young adults the opportunity of a sustainable and meaningful employment, with the training they need and the dignity they deserve.

Why did you decide on brick-and-mortar, and more importantly, what led you to partner with EDENS at Princeton?

We were looking for a place that would allow our co-workers to work in a safe and as comfortable as possible environment. This space was available and EDENS worked closely with us and made sure that our business plan fit in the existing setup.

What has been the biggest impact your business has made in your community?

The most rewarding element is the direct contact between our group and the community, on a personal level, and the discovery of home made from scratch, fresh and tasty meals available to the public.

What advice would you give to aspiring business owners who want to follow in your footsteps?

Be ready for the roller coaster that also comes with a lot of rewards. Always give back to the community especially since IDD can be overwhelming sometimes on a personal level.

What does “Enrich Community” mean to you?

When you make a positive and lasting impact on your community.