The PCC Small Business Development Center is proud of the great work all of their clients are accomplishing in their businesses. Our Business Profile feature series highlights businesses at all stages of development and success.
Company: Union Rose
Owner: Rita Hudson-Evalt
Start Date: Bought September 1, 2014
Location: 7909 SE Start St, Portland, OR 97215
Tell us about your business.
Union Rose is a women’s clothing and accessory store.
What inspired you to start your business?
I also own a clothing line, Hubris Apparel; I love clothing. I think of it as the first environment, or second skin, we are surrounded with every day. I knew the previous owner of Union Rose from doing business with her. When she said she wanted to sell, she offered the shop to me first. I thought it would be an excellent way to expand my income, continue to sell other local designers work, and continue my professional growth both as a new retailer and as a designer.
Before coming to the SBDC, what were you struggling with in your business?
Pretty much everything! I bought and started operating Union Rose within days of reaching a sale agreement, and just had to jump in without any plan of action, or an in-depth understanding of what obstacles were involved in owning and managing a retail business. I hooked up with the SBDC through another retail friend. Before my first SBDC advising meeting, I was just treading water- trying to keep paying the bills and retain customers. At my first advising session, my advisor and I were able to start crunching data, and determine some basic goals.
What types of services did you receive and/or in which programs did you participate?
I started with one-on-one advising, and then decided to take Retail Small Business Management.
How did the services or programs help you overcome your challenges?
The program has helped me immensely. First by helping me set basic goals, and more so by challenging me to exceed them and redevelop my goals- moving towards more customer loyalty and interest, and higher profitability. It has also helped me connect with other business owners, creating a collaborative mindset between us, and now I have cohort of people to talk to about future challenges I will certainly face.
What have you done differently in your business since working with the SBDC?
I now have defined goals for myself and my employees, I understand why I need them, and I have tools to hold myself and my employees accountable. I have access to knowledge I never even knew I needed before, and have been able to develop into a resourceful business owner, instead of not knowing where to turn when I need help.
How is your business doing now?
Amazingly well. Last year (2015, my first complete year of owning the biz), we brought in 32% more sales than 2014.
What would you say to other small business owners thinking of working with the SBDC?
Do it! It has really given me the tools I needed to run my business effectively, and to plan and achieve growth both in the short-term and long-term.