Wilma Grimes, The Stitchin' Post -- Big City Products At Affordable Prices
Although the final business isn't what she first envisioned, Wilma Grimes, owner and operator of Enid's Stitchin' Post is very proud of her creation.
"Initially, my plans were just to open a little fabric shop," says Grimes. "But apparently there was another plan in mind for me. We have, instead, developed into more of a drapery and upholstery fabric shop. That seems to suit the demands of my customers much better."
Grimes opened the business in May of 1998. Originally located in the Varsity Square Shopping Center on 30th Street in Enid, that location ultimately did not work out as hoped. In April of 2002, it moved downtown, on the square, at the corner of Broadway and Grand. "We love it here," says Grimes.
"We have plenty of room and lots of exposure with the court house and post office nearby. This spot has worked out great for us."
Other than the location obstacle, Grimes cites marketing as a challenge for the business.
"We've tried just about everything we can think of and still have customers tell us they didn't know we were here. But we are getting there. Flyers and direct mail seem to work better for us than print advertising. Still, we keep our options open."
Citing the counseling and training assistance provided by OSBDC and SCORE as her most valuable resources, Grimes wishes she had also sought a small business loan rather than totally self-financing her business.
"You never know when you might need your savings," says Grimes. "The SBA has financing available for that. If I had it to do again, I'd take advantage of that opportunity as well."
When asked what advice she would offer individuals who are considering their own business, Grimes advised, "If you are not ready, willing, and able to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for a very long time then you should rethink your goal. This is hard work! It isn't 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it isn't Monday through Friday. It is from sunup to sundown every single day of the year."
Grimes knows this for a fact, having owned two previous businesses (floral shops) in other areas of the sate in the past.
"All of the paperwork is time consuming and overwhelming. You just can't get around that unless you can afford a full-time bookkeeper. Then there is marketing, human resource issues, and customer service. The work is never ending."