Here are two small businesses in Arizona that utilized their local small business development programs. Both are doing well.
Marian started her own business in 2008. She’s her only employee and she runs the business out of her home.
This single mom sells her goods at a farmer’s market in Flagstaff and caters in the off season.
Marian started baking various cheesecakes and other goodies for potlucks.
“People kept saying this is something you’d find in a café. Ok, thank you. I think I’ll start a business!” Marian said.
But she didn’t know anything about starting a business.
Marian said that her business wouldn’t exist today without the help of the Citizen Empowerment and Community Engagement Services Department in Coconino County.
Through its program she learned the “nitty gritty of business.”
It provided her with classes, brought in guest speakers, and taught her the ropes of starting a business.
She’s had her moments of hardship with Cheesecake & Chocolate, because it doesn’t bring in much money.
“Every moment is a question of whether I want to keep doing this,” Marian says. “But I can’t imagine not doing it. I love it, it helps me feel useful.”
Marian wants her company to be about love.
“I love being able to put love for human kind in one single bite – bringing that moment of bliss and joy,” Marian says. “Everything I make with love and I hope and play everyone feels the love I put into it.”
Trendy is not what you usually think about when you hear Safford, Ariz., but Rachel Peck along with her sister and mother are doing their best to change that.
“We’re really trying to set trends here,” Peck said.
Two years ago, they opened their boutique Sorellas Elite Fashion. It was something Peck always wanted to do, but it seemed far-fetched.
Peck brought her sister on board and they started dreaming together.
“My mom was very ‘Oh, please, girls,” said Peck. “But when she saw our passion for it and how serious we were, she knew she had to get involved.”
All three own the boutique together. They’ve recently switched locations just down Main Street to get a bigger space.
“Business is really good,” Peck said. “It’s a better location, bigger store and it has that much more to offer.”
Sorellas Elite Fashion specializes in women’s and juniors clothing as well as accessories, shoes and jewelry.
“We tend to try to be a little more cutting edge fashion than our area understands or knows,” Peck said. “We have girls that are coming in saying they’ve never worn a pair of skinny jeans!”
But Peck and her sister didn’t know anything about owning a business. They owe their success to the Arizona Small Business Development Center.
“Everyone kept saying ‘You need to go talk to them, you need to go talk to them,” Peck said.
And it paid off.
They were able to develop a business plan and talk through potential problems they might encounter.
“Me and my sister aren’t business women,” Peck said. “We aren’t good at crunching numbers. We’re passionate about clothing and fashion.”
And they’re using this boutique to set trends in Safford. Even if those trends are hard to come by.
“With the boutique we got to a point where we were trying to find clothing that’s a little more modest,” Peck said. “Some people want a dress that’s not super short and sleeveless.”
Peck said they couldn’t find more modest clothes, so they decided to create their own line.
The line is called Junie Blake and launches in mid to late March. It will be sold in their boutique, online and across the U.S.
These “modest, trendy clothes” may very well be what sets Sorellas Elite Fashion apart from the rest.
“We never would have got to that point without starting our cute little business,” Peck said.