Brenda Adams of Simply Charming has been an SBDC client since June 2007. She found the Lord Fairfax SBDC through her personal research and was later also referred by a bank. She initially came to the SBDC with questions on insurance and for a review of a proposed lease. She operates a woman’s boutique and has a customer base that extends well outside of the immediate area of the Shenandoah Valley.
Brenda has used the Lord Fairfax SBDC as her primary business resource as she’s dealt with developing and growing her business from a home based operation to where she is today. She started her boutique out of her home and grew it next to a weekend tented canopy on the Winchester walking mall. In 2008 she moved into a small store front on the mall which allowed her to have a downtown presence seven days a week. Her last move was in 2010 when she relocated to an independent building within the walking mall vicinity.
Brenda has worked as her own advocate throughout the process and has called on the SBDC for various information and input. Most recently, she analyzed a proposal from her landlord to buy the building and through her analysis determined it was not the right move for her at this time; a tough emotional decision, but a sound analytical one. Brenda has also utilized elements of the Virginia SBDC Small Towns and Merchants Program and has welcomed site visits from Marc Willson, SBDC retail consultant.
Since Simply Charming established a fixed retail location in 2008, annual sales have grown over 195% and additional employees have been hired. The boutique employs 7 regular part-time employees and 2 college seasonal employees. Sales for 2012 are off to a good start with January receipts 4.5% over January 2011 and February’s numbers are trending up as well. Brenda attributes the early increase to good weather, but this reflection also highlights how well she analyzes business conditions.