Community offers excellent support network to become the next maker, baker or shaker.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are alive and thriving in Robertson County, Tennessee, where a network of support encourages startups and helps them succeed.>
Look no further for an example of small business success than Hannah Sadler, owner of Grain + Honey Bake Shop, who is making a go of it, one loaf at a time.>
Sadler opened the bakery in Springfield, TN in 2019. She sells pastries and bread and quickly earned a reputation for her baked goodies.>
But behind every successful enterprise is a support network, and Sadler is a prime example of how entrepreneurship is really a team sport.
Get a Main Street Champion
Being new to small business ownership, resources such as the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce were invaluable to her in navigating the intricacies of launching a venture. She also credits the chamber for being a champion of Main Street businesses.
When she decided to become a chamber member, the move took her venture to the next level, she says.
“I knew that whatever shape this was going to take, it couldn’t hurt to leverage the network of the chamber,” Sadler says. “Because at that point, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so the chamber was really instrumental in my success.”
For instance, the organization helped her find a lead on commercial kitchen space after she outgrew her own kitchen facilities.
From there, the growth was steady and the trajectory continues upward, even despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Find Huge Help in Small Town
With the boost from the chamber, Sadler says she was motivated to keep working on her business.
She looked to Small Town Startup, an organization in Springfield that offers co-working space, digital marketing services and classes, workshops and events for entrepreneurs. Sadler completed a two-day bootcamp there over the summer, giving her more confidence to keep pushing forward.
Now looking to the operations, Sadler says she wouldn’t have gotten to this point if it weren’t for the support of the Springfield community at large from the outset.
One example: When the bakery was getting ready to open, it ran a Kickstarter campaign because it needed to raise enough funds to purchase equipment.
“The Robertson County community came together and raised $4,000 in about three weeks,” Sadler says. “This allowed us to be able to purchase a 30-quart commercial mixer for the shop.”
Receive Stellar Support from Residents
This show of support is not a one-off â€” this generous spirit is manifested on a deeper level in the county. Residents are quick to lend a hand and help see a dream to fruition.
That was Lisa Arnold’s experience when she moved to the community about four years ago.
Arnold founded Small Town Startup to help support current and aspiring entrepreneurs of all stripes. Arnold refers to the cohort as an “eclectic bunch.”
“The space brings a lot of people with different ideas and different backgrounds together, and they create cool things together,” she says.
Experience the Buzz in Springfield, TN
There is a buzz in Springfield, a city excited about its growth, Sadler says. “So I think it would be really awesome to constantly see these businesses outgrowing this space and finding their own,” she says.
“But most importantly, you get a little taste into Springfield’s future by coming here and checking them out in their spaces now.”
Arnold acknowledges that as far as entrepreneurship support goes, it truly takes a village. That’s why the organization partners with the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce as well as the Robertson County Economic Development Board.
“We’ve offered classes together and collaborated to promote tourism and the local shopping scene,” she says. “It’s really been a joy to work with them. We often say that Small Town Startup does what the chamber doesn’t and vice versa, so it’s a really nice partnership, and I suppose we’re good enhancers to both organizations.
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