LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) – After sitting vacant for well over a year, Main Street Plaza in downtown Little Chute is bustling once again. And it’s thanks in large part to five new business owners – all women.
This week in Small Towns, a closer look at their unique bond and a giant leap of faith.
Rachel Fowler is fulfilling a dream that began when she was just a kid.
“My mom, I begged as a four-year-old to learn how to sew and so she sat me down in my little yellow booster seat and taught me how to stitch X’s with red thread on white fabric, and right there on the bottom of the stack is my red, white and blue quilt that I made when I was about 14-15 years old,” says Rachel.
When Rachel learned space was available inside this little mall-like building, she decided to go for it, launching Rachel Ann Quilts in October.
“I fell in love with this one as soon as I walked in, I saw that I had all these gorgeous windows and that I was able to have room to do a massive cutting table, had office space, storage space and it was a great opportunity,” says Rachel. That’s also exactly how Megan Beyer felt, opening a boutique, Creative Simplicity, on the very same day. “The dream is a reality, absolutely,” says Megan with a smile.
And just down the hall, Sue Spierings promotional marketing business is no longer run out of her home.
“We are here for the long haul,” says Sue. A lawn care and snowplowing business, and a photography business, add up to five new women-owned and operated businesses, all opening up within the last two months.
“To think there are that many other women in the same boat, just trying to create a business that can support their family and share something they’re passionate about, something that they love to do,” says Rachel.
“We all have a creative niche, we’re all doing our own things but we bring creativity to what’s happening in this building,” adds Megan.
Once home to a shoe store for decades, and a bakery, each lady gave their new space a major facelift before opening, thanks to a state grant providing funds to new start-ups in vacant commercial space. Already, there’s deep appreciation and gratitude among these new business neighbors.
“Being in business for the first time by myself, there’s no committee, there’s no Monday morning meeting, right, you don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off of but I feel like the women in the building just have a really great support, like we can bounce ideas, well what do you think of this and hey there’s this activity going on, what would you do, and so it’s kind of like our own little staff meeting if you want to support each other,” says Megan.
“Even though each of our businesses are very different, we’re able to collaborate and share ideas and kind of help each other look at things from a different angle because of those differences,” adds Rachel.
“We help each other a lot, we watch out for each other, we cheer for each other, so it’s just exciting to see,” says Sue. As is the support from a community thrilled to see its downtown becoming more vibrant. “Overwhelming, we’ve had some open houses that have been really supportive with our customers and the community coming in to see us and welcoming us,” says Sue.
“The feeling is absolute kindness whether they need something from us or not they’re just so happy to see businesses on their Main Street, that it’s not vacant space,” explains Megan.
“It just seems to be a little community that takes care of its own and supports its own and is growing and thriving,” adds Rachel.
The new business owners inside Main Street Plaza are not only grateful for the community’s support but hope they can inspire others to bring back life to their communities.
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