In some ways, the Great Recession was one of the best things that could have happened to some Brandon business owners.
Julianne Pomeroy, who was recently named a 2013 Small Business of the Year Award finalist by the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, opened Julie’s Walk-in Closet in 2009.
“Resale has historically done well in times of recession – this recession is nothing different,” Pomeroy said. “We are offering the same products that are new or look brand new for half as much as the retail stores. People are finding it’s a much greener thing to do.”
Pomeroy said the recession may have brought people to her boutique at 720 W. Robertson St. in Brandon, but it’s the quality and customer service that will keep them coming when the economy recovers.
She said women from the chamber have been extremely supportive by shopping her boutique and telling others about it.
“When you walk in you aren’t going to realize you are in a consignment shop,” she said. “The ladies of the chamber have helped our image by coming in and telling their friends.”
Pomeroy of Lithia was named a finalist under the minority or woman owned category for the annual chamber awards gala that recognizes small business owners.
The event to honor small business owners will take place Oct. 17 at the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel, 10221 Princess Palm Ave., Tampa.
Sandy Cannington of Brandon, the owner of ION Apparel and Advertising Specialties, is a finalist under the home based business category.
Cannington said she opened her female-owned and operated business in 2002, and joined the chamber in 2004.
“They are very much our cheerleaders,” said Cannington, referring to the chamber members. Cannington’s business partner is Tracey McQuilken, a graduate of Brandon High School. Their third business partner, Sabra Otterness, passed away in 2011.
Cannington recently moved her home-based business two blocks away from what she called her “old facility.” Her new “facility,” or house, has a converted garage with separate entrance and plenty of space for inventory and embroidery machines.
“The advantage of being a home-based business is we can maintain lower prices for our clients and it keeps our overhead low,” she said.
She said another perk of working at home is that they can work all night to meet virtually any deadline.
A 1978 graduate of King High School, Cannington was born and raised in Temple Terrace, but moved to Brandon as an adult.
She has been able to employ Bloomingdale High School students on a part-time basis, especially for larger jobs.
“We mentor high school students including our daughter on our business, creating art work, printing T-shirts and fundraising through T-shirts,” Cannington said.
The other 2013 Small Business of the Year Award finalists are: You Say When Yogurt, Lambert Law Offices, Minuteman Press, Crosstown Stor-N-More Self Storage, Bivins & Hemenway P.A., Brandon Open MRI, Livingstone Academy, Sencommunications Inc., Delaney Creek Lodge, Take Out Butler, Traventours Events and Excursions, Law Office of Ingrid M. Hooglander and Carr Pediatric Dentistry.
The awards gala honors small businesses within the Brandon area that have demonstrated leadership, positive growth and development, creativity, and integrity in operating a business, as well as a commitment to community services. The award categories include one to five employees, six to 15 employees, 16 or more employees, home-based business and minority or women-owned business.