GROW Washington, Snohomish County’s nonprofit “small business incubator,” is implementing some new strategies to help GROW members continue to expand their businesses.
GROW Washington, founded by Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick, provides guidance, instruction, affordable retail space and other benefits to individuals who wish to start their own companies. GROW members include artists, woodworkers, candle makers, jewelers, authors and much more. The goal is to assist budding entrepreneurs, providing them with the necessary skills to grow successful and sustainable businesses.
GROW Washington storefronts are currently operating in Snohomish, Sultan and downtown Everett. Each location features merchandise from numerous different GROW members, creating an eclectic shopping experience for customers. As part of a new thrust towards increasing artist exposure at each location, GROW will be offering a reduced rate to all new and existing members to help them expand their businesses by having their work available at all three stores.
“It will help offer more merchandise to our customers, in all three locations, and will give our members additional opportunities to interact, both with our customers and with each other,” said Sultan’s Team Coordinator, Kathy Cotterill.
Choosing to become a member of GROW Washington gives new business owners access to marketing and networking opportunities, reduced-fee workshops on product development and business skills, free publicity, referral benefits and even funding opportunities. A multi-faceted variety of courses are offered to provide instruction on merchandising, obtaining a business license, inventory control and much more.
Entrepreneurs also have the ability to network with other GROW members, helping each other to promote and grow their businesses. Peer-to-peer mentoring is a key benefit of becoming a member of GROW Washington.
GROW feels that the new system will help to facilitate additional member interaction. GROW members have always been asked to volunteer one day per month in order to provide customer service at the stores. Under the new arrangement, each member will be asked to work one day per month at each GROW location.
GROW members pay a fee in return for the opportunity to display their merchandise. Under the new system, the fees will be adjusted and offered to members in such a way that participating in all three stores will be manageable.
“The member will pick where their home store is going to be,” said Cotterill. “And the other two stores will feature a smaller representation of what they have in their home store.”
Artist Debbie Beierle, of Debbie BB Art, does pottery and has recently expanded her business to include original paintings and greeting cards. Beierle’s pottery is lead-free and waterproof, as well as being oven, microwave and dishwasher-safe.
Currently, Beierle’s merchandise is located in the Sultan store only, but under the new system, she will have to opportunity to create satellite displays in both Everett and Snohomish.
“It will increase everybody’s visibility,” said Cotterill. “It’s a new way for GROW to help people grow their businesses.”
For additional information on GROW Washington, please visit the website at: http://www.growwashington.biz/, or the GROW Facebook page for Sultan: https://www.facebook.com/GrowWashingtonSultan and Snohomish: https://www.facebook.com/GROWWashington.