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Business incubator opens up in downtown Tuscumbia

Shoppes at Coldwater helps small business owners expand and learn.

Posted: May 1, 2019 3:41 PM
Updated: May 1, 2019 7:17 PM

On Wednesday, entrepreneurs got a leg up in Tuscumbia after a business incubator opened downtown along East 6th Street.

Click Synergy cut the ribbon on the new store named Shoppes at Coldwater. Five small business owners are now selling their products at Shoppes at Coldwater, but they're getting more experience in running a business than anything.

"I could have a retail site in the next few years," said Patti Chrisman, one of the entrepreneurs selling items at Shoppes at Coldwater.

Chrisman started Honey Child Clothing out of her house, mostly selling her children's clothing line at festivals. The items got so popular that she didn't know how to keep up with demand or market her brand.

"It's embarrassing when you have people wanting your products, saying 'How can we reach you? How can we get in touch with you?' Well, I can meet you in the Walmart parking lot. It got to where I was doing that a lot," said Chrisman.

Chrisman said she lacked social media and marketing skills.

"When I started coaching with Ashley, she helped me come up with a business plan," said Chrisman.

Ashley Morrow, who opened Shoppes at Coldwater and is a partner at Click Synergy, said these small business owners get marketing strategies and coaching from her and her staff. The business owners pay Click Synergy $250 a month for coaching and the space at Coldwater.

"Everyone needs that third party group that comes in and says, 'Hey, let's look at your marketing. Let's look at your social media strategies. Let's look at your sales processes,'" said Morrow. "Especially those small businesses that are growing out of that back bedroom that aren't ready to land in their own space yet."

Morrow said the goal is to grow these small businesses, so one day, they can open up their own shops. Chrisman said the possibilities are limitless with guidance from Morrow.

"I feel like there is nothing holding me back from expanding and making it as big as I want it to be," said Chrisman.

Morrow said businesses owners can stay at Shoppes at Coldwater for however long they want. It's dependent on their goals and where they want to expand to. Morrow said they are starting to get calls from across the state about their business model. They plan to share it with others to help entrepreneurs.

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