It’s safe to say that the winners of the Launch Gloucester program have been busy. Really busy.
The three winners were among 10 businesses whittled down from an original field that exceeded 40 when the program began last year. The entrepreneurs vied for a combined value of $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch their business on Main Street.
And now, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
The Launch Gloucester program was one of three in the state that are part of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative. The Launch Gloucester program is overseen by the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and the Gloucester Main Street Association.
As part of the terms of the competition, the businesses must open in September, leaving just three months to complete all the necessary paperwork, hiring, location scouting and ordering.
Here’s an update on where they are in a month after earning their winnings!
First Place Winner, Sweet Tooth Parlor & Café
Crystal Burton, the first-place winner who secured a prize packaged of more than $48,000, has been working non-stop to make sure everything will be perfect at opening, she said.
Her business, “Sweet Tooth Parlor & Cafe,” will offer fresh baked breads, cinnamon rolls, pastries, soups, salads and café sandwiches.
“I really am going to strive to give customers the best product,” she said. “We’ll have the best atmosphere and the best customer service, and will serve affordable, fresh foods.
And one thing she’s really looking forward to? The grand opening.
“I think I’m most excited about the opening because we’re going to do some really cool things and make it up to be a cool, fun day that introduces the business,” she said.
Sweet Tooth Parlor will be located at 6604 Main Street in Gloucester Courthouse.
Second Place Winner, The Nines Pet Boutique and Photography
The second place winner, Karin Fary of “The Nines Pet Boutique and Photography,” will open her business to include stylish clothing, accessories, collars and leashes for pets, as well as pet photography services.
Since learning she won second place, Fary has been busy finalizing her lease, meeting with the marketing team and designing her floor plan. She and her husband have also been doing a photography apprenticeship to advance their skills to be able to offer high-quality photography to their clients.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m so fortunate that Launch Gloucester has prepared us with a plan and timeline,” she said. “Everything is written, I just have to follow it through.”
The Nines Pet Boutique and Photography will be located at 6584 Main Street in Gloucester Courthouse.
Third Place Winner, Essential Wellness and Bodywork
Jill Reece and Ginger Platsis walked away as third place winners and are working towards opening “Essential Wellness and Bodywork,” which will offer massage and holistic wellness services. It’s about healing and wellness, from the inside out.
“Lately we’ve been integrating online scheduling software, writing contracts, closing on our space and making sure we have all the service providers needed to make this happen,” said Platsis.
Their business will support the balance of body, mind and spirit through exceptional service and a variety of products and workshops that advocate wellness.
“Of course it’s been really time consuming, but watching it all come to fruition will incredibly be satisfying,” she said.
And for Platsis and Reece, it’s all coming together quickly. The two recently signed the lease for their new space and will move on July 1, well ahead of the September deadline.
Essential Wellness and Bodywork will be located at 6506 Main Street in Gloucester Courthouse.