Five women business owners celebrate "community over competition" in Sneads Ferry - Jacksonville Daily News

Five women business owners celebrate "community over competition" in Sneads Ferry - Jacksonville Daily News


Five women business owners celebrate "community over competition" in Sneads Ferry - Jacksonville Daily News

Posted: 27 Apr 2021 03:02 AM PDT


"I've always had to fight harder. I've always had to fight harder as a woman in this community."

Sneads Ferry is one of the areas in southern Onslow County that has seen growth over the past couple of years. With the MARSOC merger set to finish in 2022 and a booming real estate market, homes and businesses will continue to pop up looking to reap the benefits. 

Five business owners in The Ferry are aware of the potential heading their way and are looking to combine forces to celebrate "community over competition". The slogan is described as a way to bring awareness to the lack of female-owned businesses while shedding light on many others that most are not aware of. 

All five businesses don't compete directly, but could potentially share customers from time to time.

  • Beth Jones - Float Spa X Wellness Centers 
  • Jennifer Vanek - Harper Rose Boutique
  • Katie Rochelle - Coffee Haven
  • Jeanette Georgitis - Salty Sistas
  • Marilyn Didomenico - The Grit & Grace Bazaar

Recognizing those probabilities, the group of five women has come together in any way they can. Whether it is grabbing a bite to eat every other day at Salty Sistas or enjoying their morning brew at Coffee Haven, they continue to encourage the others daily in what they describe as a male-dominated area for businesses. 

"It's always been a struggle, even when I ran the soup kitchen. It has seemed like it's been very male-dominated and it makes it difficult to have a voice," Georgitis said. "If anything, the soup kitchen has taught me that I can do anything and was a great way to get into the community. Having that background allowed me to begin working for profit, with a nonprofit mindset, and give back to the community at the same time."

Georgitis went on to explain she has always had to fight harder as a woman in the Sneads Ferry community and while women-owned small businesses have seen tremendous growth over the years (42% of all business is female-owned in the U.S., according to Forbes) there are still some biases such as funding or qualification questions based on gender norms. 

New study: Women and minority founders still vastly underfunded, new report finds

The group has experienced the latter in the community and to ensure their success, each business has its own unique way of chipping into the others. 

An article from USA Today described ways men and women are different when it comes to starting a business. One piece of advice from the article was for women to "toot their own horn." Women have a hard time promoting themselves, especially in one-on-one or small group settings. Vanek explained this group does not have that issue. 

When Didomenico's The Grit and Grace Bazaar opened on Feb. 28, Georgitis rolled up with her food truck to serve the customers lunch while they shopped. Rochelle's Coffee Haven also sells Salty Sista's muffins, which both benefit from, and Vanek's boutique promotes Jones' Float Spa X on social media and vice versa.

For Didomenico, who relies on her faith as a source of inspiration, she never thought about backtracking when it came to taking the jump and becoming an entrepreneur. 

USA TODAY'Women are more strategic, men quicker to action': How women small business owners can grow

Vanek even opened up her shop to Didomenico to help her get on her feet before she was able to buy her own store. "My faith is very important to me and I was never thinking about the pandemic and if I should open or not," Didomenico said. "My faith really helped me push through and we were able to open in four weeks, which is unheard of."

Networking between the group has also been a huge takeaway, especially during the pandemic. Sharing ideas and experiences allows them to try new things and continue keeping a fresh perspective on what the customer's needs are, which drastically changed throughout last year. 

Small businesses did not shy away from opening their doors and adapted to the demand of essential needs, one of which turned out to be mental health care. Jones' spa not only services the average person but is also used for treatment as she says service members suffering from PTSD or physical injuries have come to her in hopes of getting some relief. 

"Women have a sense of empathy towards others, especially in businesses," Jones added.  "I have a lot of guys from MARSOC and others who come suffering from PTSD and that is huge for the community to give back to them that have given a lot to us."

Born and raised in the county, Rochelle has seen first hand the population growth and bump in businesses making Onslow their new home. For her, having more small business options creates more of a hometown environment that might be diminishing as thoughts of industry and big-box chains continue popping up. 

In total agreement, Vanek championed Rochelle's observation as one of the potential hurdles women may have to jump through when it comes to starting their own business. Not necessarily one dictated by an outside factor, but one from within. 

"Everyone has hardships and everyone one of us have had something we've gone through but you just have to push on or else that is going to be your biggest regret," said Vanek. "If you have a dream and you have an idea, you might as well take the shot.

The same is said for local consumers as Jones added business owners have a responsibility to the community to give back and that Sneads Ferry is a place where everyone takes care of each other. "If there is a place you've been wanting to go to then do it. I get that people are still iffy about going out but that's how small businesses are going to survive. By us supporting each other and shopping local."

Reporter Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at tdunnell@jdnews.com. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

COVID-19: New business ideas emerge as people work from home - The Jakarta Post - Jakarta Post

6 Ways to Improve Your Small Business SEO in 2020 - Entrepreneur

5 Last-Minute Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday - Entrepreneur