Small businesses can not only survive, but thrive through multiple generations.
Columbus Avenue in historic downtown Bellefontaine has seen some change, but one thing has remained for the last 25 years: Peachtree, a darling gift shop that occupies two of the three street-level commercial spaces on their block. Peachtree had always been the city’s go-to merchant for unique goods. It was one of our very first gift shops downtown, and has attracted visitors from outside of our community for decades. The store had many owners in its 25 years in operation, and the current owners of Peachtree were reaching the end of their tenure. What they didn’t know is that the legacy of Peachtree would continue on, and even stronger than before.
Like many small town merchants, Peachtree did well, but moved forward in time doing things “they way they’ve always been done.” The building itself was seeing some signs of wear, there hadn’t been many updates to the interior design, and product lines remained consistent over the years rather than progressing with the times. This is a typical scenario in small towns. Successful businesses sometimes have a hard time finding someone to take over the reins because potential buyers just don’t see the concept progressing into the future. In order to attract potential buyers, small businesses really need to present a perception of possibility.
That’s what Small Nation is all about.
Hearing that Peachtree’s owners wanted to move on, Small Nation purchased the multi-unit building for $150,000. Although the building structure had seen better days, a thorough inspection ensured us repairs and strategic upgrades would remain on target and within budget. We established a renovation budget of $125,000 to bring the building up to date and prime it for a residential over retail use.
While we renovated the building itself, we were also actively recruiting tenants. Engaging the community about a building’s best and highest use is a crucial part of our Hustle Hard approach. It was our engagement on social media regarding the renovations that garnered the most interest—particularly that of native Bellefontaine sisters Hayley Palmer & Alysia Kuba, who had decided to continue the Peachtree legacy. Hayley & Alysia purchased the business with a bigger vision: to includes women’s clothing (something that was missing from downtown at the time) and transform the old gift store into Peach Tree Boutique.
Recruiting high-quality independent retail establishments into the Main street tenant mix is a key catalyst for revitalization success. Women’s boutiques generate repeat foot traffic, and stores with unique product selections and personalized service will encourage buyers to stay local rather than spending their money at the mall.
Based on Hayley and Alysia’s vision for the property, we allocated a $10,000 interior design budget for our new Peachtree tenants to evolve the gift shop concept. By whitewashing the building’s brick facade, replacing the ancient store front glass, repairing the roof and existing historic skylights, and updating the lighting and heating & cooling appliances throughout the structure, we were able to elevate the structure and perception of the building while retaining its legacy. Our Peachtree tenants used their interior budget in good taste, updating floors, paint, light fixtures, and merchandise displays.
Inside this chic boutique, you can expect three universes:
- A contemporary curation of home goods and gifts;
- A tasteful collection of clothing and accessories;
- A whimsical world of children’s toys, games, and books.
The spirit of the Peachtree of the past remained, but was elevated when Hayley and Alysia took over. The two young entrepreneurs had dreamt of owning a store together since they were little girls, so they had plenty of time to plan their unique execution of what is now a small town success. Their addition of women’s clothing made the store one of the first women’s boutiques in Bellefontaine, and it is still a very popular apparel store today.Hayley and Alysia exude all the qualities Small Nation looks for in all our tenants and Small B School students: passion, persistence, vision, will, innovation, and adaptability. The sisters evolved Peachtree beyond the gift shop of yesterday with a real vision of the future.
A BLOOMING PARTNERSHIP
Not only is Peachtree an inherited success for our tenants, but the updates to the building have allowed us to continue expanding our potential for revenue as well. We’ve recently introduced a second tenant to the building that has great potential for growth. Dorcey’s Flowers, an independently owned and operated florist now occupies the third unit in the ground floor of the building. Because flowers are a gift in and of themselves, we knew this side by side retail partnership would be a highly complementary one.
And there’s still room for growth. There are three residential units on the second floor of the building that are waiting to be renovated and developed. With these spaces, we look forward to offering more downtown living options to Bellefontaine residents, adding additional depth and possibility to the success of the Small Nation tenant mix.
| SMALL BUSINESS. BIG IMPACT. |
There truly is strength in numbers, even in little towns. By working together, small businesses amplify their potential for success. How? By communicating lessons learned and promoting your neighbors destination as your own, leveraging Small business networks become sustainable and supportive. The more we’re in touch with each other as business owners, the more in touch we are with the entire community. Learn more about Peachtree and their engagement on Facebook @peachtreeboutique.