How do you start and grow a business in a new town when you are facing unemployment and your spouse’s business has died in a weak economy? The story of Dave and Teri Keizur and Boardwalk Quilts illustrates a road to success.
Dave and Teri were out of work in 2009 because of the economic downturn. Dave’s graphic design business went from flourishing to zero in just months, while Teri’s job with a large bank would disappear before year’s end. Undismayed, they saw a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move to Long Beach, Washington, the town of their dreams, and start their own business.
They took a leap of faith and decided to open Boardwalk Quilts, stocking fabric, patterns, books, kits, thread, quilting tools and notions — everything you might need for your quilt or your sewing project. Together, they worked against a self-imposed May 2010 deadline to get a loan, rent a building, acquire inventory, hire employees and meet all the other challenges of opening the doors on a new business.
Dave took a temporary job with a local paint store to get health insurance benefits and, more importantly, learn all he could about running a retail store. Teri took business planning classes and credits SCORE, in particular counselor Jerry Zyskowski, with helping them develop a business plan and evaluate ideas. SCORE's assistance was invaluable in getting an SBA loan. The SBA loan program is truly a valuable resource for small businesses. Without it, many businesses would never have a chance to get started.
Boardwalk Quilts opened their doors on May 1, 2010 and sales are up 30% in the second year. Dave and Teri are continually looking for ways to grow their business. They want to be more than just a quilt shop on the Washington coast.
Dave uses his background in graphic design to create signage for the store, update the website and create video and audio spots for ads and the newsletter. This is a great cost saver. Teri uses her background in sewing and quilting to create samples for the store and quickly gain credibility with customers.
The store is totally unlike the usual small and crowded quilt shop. Boardwalk Quilts is open and spacious and well-lighted. Fabrics are draped for easy viewing. And there is a lounge stocked with the latest magazines for the quilter’s friends and family so they can take their time and shop.
They started a customer rewards program for both online and in-store customers. They plan to roll-out unique products to better compete with online sellers and better meet the needs of quilters.
More information about Boardwalk Quilts is available on their website (www.Boardwalkquilts.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/BoardwalkQuilts/116182498422228).
SCORE helped in developing a business plan, evaluating ideas, and getting an SBA loan.