Every year, our Business Spotlight program leads us to meet many incredible small business owners who share their inspiring stories for us to feature.
While no two days are ever the same and the entrepreneurial journey is full of twists and turns, these business owners are proof that the work is worth it. Read along as we ask our Business Spotlights to relive their proudest moments with us and share how these standout moments fuel the passion and drive they have for their businesses.
Sugar & Grace Co.– Erica Parham
She has felt the most proud when opening her storefront. As a military family, they have made sacrifices which can easily delay or alter plans. “It is easy to wait until the next time and it kind of never happens. I feel really proud to have opened a store on my own and for my kids to see this,” she explains.
Benevolent Design Co.– Patrick Ryan
Patrick’s proudest moments come to him when he sees a customer’s expression as they see their furniture for the first time. “Every single time a customer comes in and picks up a table, there is a look of excitement that comes across their face,” he shares. These are the subtle and joyful reminders that what BDco. does is special and so appreciated.”
Long Board Charcuterie– Katie Eckhardt
With a face expressing so much to be grateful for, Katie explains how shocked and honored she has felt by the community’s support. “For someone who is not from here, it has been so special to feel the community rally around me,” she explains. She pauses and also mentions the R&A Business Spotlight is a proud moment. “I did not expect [LBC] to be anything more than a fun outlet and it has become a business that I love and can support myself on.” She continues, “[the business] has become a way for me to plant roots in the community and has made Virginia Beach feel like home.”
Aloha Snacks– Jesse Wykle
Jesse’s proudest moment with Aloha Snacks came one year after opening. “Finishing the first year and establishing rapport was a huge accomplishment. I knew once we opened people would love it.” Additionally, he speaks to the juxtaposition of Aloha Snacks to other restaurants he’s worked at in the area. “In my previous restaurant experiences, we would get people twice a year for a celebratory occasion. But I want to get them twice a week, making it approachable to all. That’s the difference.”
Jollity & Co.– Kristin Lindsey
One of Kristin’s proudest moments was when Jollity started selling their wholesale line. “It was a year of prep before we launched and years and years of dreaming before that,” she says with a smile. Kristin explains how important it is to talk about the “long game,” emphasizing the importance of the work and drive it takes to achieve your goals. “I cannot describe how proud you feel once your dream comes together.”
Sweethaven Lavender– The Messer Family
The family was overjoyed when they received their first five-star review on a skincare product. You can imagine the feeling of affirmation that others’ have enjoyed and approve of the hard work you have created.
Mod & Soul– Jasmina Zulic
When we ask Jasmina about her proudest moment owning Mod & Soul, she smiles and reflects. “We have received rewards, but to me, my day is made when I am in the store and I hear a customer say, ‘This is so cute. This store is amazing.’ It tells me we are moving in the right direction.”
Smooth– Nickie Janes
When asked about her proudest moment, Nickie smiles and says, “The people. My team.” She credits her proudest moment to the jobs she has created for women offering them financial freedom. Nickie continues, “My team has been able to make life-changing decisions for themselves and their families—from affording their first home to paying off debt and crossing travels off their bucket list to paying for their children’s education.”
The Stockpot– Patrick Edwards
“I have a thank-you card posted in the office from a dishwasher who was with us for a long time—since he was 15. It was the nicest thing I had received since opening the restaurant and served as a reminder that you touch lives and leave an impression on people.”