If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and desire the freedom only possible if you work for yourself, consider a cooperative business model to share the costs of owning your own company while limiting the risks of starting a new business.
Several Historic Duluth merchants found a way to persevere in a down economy opening businesses during a time when others were closing. Cooperative business environments have formed on Main Street to share in the cost of a retail store front, marketing/advertising expenses, and the responsibility of shopkeeping. Working for yourself is a freedom and a luxury but can be very scary and risky in today's economy. Businesses come together to not only share in expenses and responsibility of keeping the doors open, but also to share in the financial risks.
fyi Duluth design studio is a perfect example of how businesses with a like customer base have come together to conduct business. Forming a cooperative of home improvement trade professionals representing a one-stop-shop to build, renovate, and decorate in 2009 was the only way a new design center could open in an economy where home improvement and designer showrooms were closing. Duluth Economic Development Manager Chris McGahee refers to fyi Duluth design studio as an ark that was built to weather the economic storm. The fyi cooperative partners made it through and are now celebrating new beginnings as they reopen their state-of-the-art showroom Tuesday, July 5, after a three-month effort to renovate the 150-year-old space.
Other merchants such as Church Ladies invited Interiors by Designe and Natures Elegance three years ago to share the space of a converted church building during the down economy. Each business owner only works one day a week while earning an income on sales during the days off. Sharing retail space offers a nice balance between owning your own business and having a personal life. Plus, if you are in a business that requires you to be out in the field, sharing space allows the flexibility to come and go as well as take time off without having to pay for another employee.
Businesses who are downsizing and reducing overhead offer perfect opportunities to invite new blood into a stagnant business. When joining forces you not only share in the expenses and operating responsibilities, you also share customers and relationships. Networking and business-to-business relationships are the key to success when advertising budgets are slim. Taking advantage of email campaigns, and social media tools offer a no-cost solution to promote business. In a cooperative business environment you not only share in the cost of doing business, you also share in customer contacts and business relationships.
If you have always wanted to own your own business but just haven't had the means or guts to make it happen, find a product or service that would complement your business to share retail or work space. Please consider joining Main Street and be a part of a great group of merchants who work together with the support of the City of Duluth to make business happen.
For Historic Duluth retail space inquiries email Chris McGahee at email@example.com or call 770-476-3434.