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Women are making their mark in business ownership in Tippecanoe County

Right now there are more than 1,200 women-owned businesses in Tippecanoe County according to the Association of Women Business Owners.

Posted: Jan 19, 2020 11:22 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2020 12:02 AM

GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Women are winning in the field of business ownership here in Greater Lafayette.

Right now there are more than 1,200 women-owned businesses in Tippecanoe County according to the Association of Women Business Owners.

If you take a walk through downtown Lafayette, you'll find more than 20 women-owned businesses, each within a few feet of one another.

These owners believe the rise in women entrepreneurs is changing Greater Lafayette for the better.

“Once you stop and look around, It's a very amazing thing to see us doing great things,” said April Cochran, owner of Scout Lafayette.

“When I used to come downtown years ago, it was mostly men run businesses,” said Denise Bootsma, owner of McCord Candies. " A lot of women are more sensitive than men and intuitive about what changes we need to make the downtown area prosper and thrive. 

McCord Candies has sat in downtown Lafayette for 108 years. Bootsma said she's seen a positive impact since taking ownership four years ago.

"The sales have increased since we bought it," said Bootsma. "People come in and thank us all the time for buying McCord Candies and cleaning it up and it just looks amazing."

“Women business owners, we're really part of the revitalization of downtown,” said Tamzin Malone, owner of Main Street Books. "There's definitely a resurgence, there's a lot of energy downtown and a lot of fun things to do and cool buildings to look at, I really enjoy coming to work every day it's a fun place to be."

These downtown business owners join more than 300 other women owners in just Lafayette alone. Some occupy buildings and others run their business from home.

AWBO President Shelly Bays said the shift started within the last 10 years.

“Women are being empowered, they're being empowered to take those skills and gifts that they have and make a business out of it,” said Bays. 

“For me, I think it's important for anybody who has a passion and wants to try something like this, I think it's awesome for anybody,” said Lori Schlaifer, owner of Boutique Lori Ann.

Boutique Lori Ann came to Lafayette a year ago. Schlaifer said the process of watching her business grow is exciting.

"It's taking a while to get people to know I'm here but it's happening and I have repeat customers and I love seeing everybody come in and not shopping at the mall, shopping here," said Schlaifer.

“We live and breathe in Lafayette so we want it to be something that's fun for us,” said Michelle Wise, owner of The Cellar Wine Bistro.”We just, we know what we want and we know that if we are going to have it, we're going to have to provide it.”

Each business brings its own uniqueness to the area. And with it comes collaboration rather than competition.

“We stay in our lane and we hold on tight to that and we really thrive in that but if we know that there's somebody else who does something better or different we're like, let's collaborate, let's meet up, let's send some clientele this way,” said Amanda Kennedy, owner of Flourish Studio and Classroom.

As Greater Lafayette continues growing, these owners say there's no better place to have their business.

“Starting a business in many ways can be intimidating but the first step is to start,” said Paula Davis. “There are plenty of resources that will help you in the beginning and even help you along the way.”

“Women can do anything so it's not really surprising that we are,” said Malone.

Bays said there are still dozens of businesses un-accounted for in the area. As a push to get businesses registered AWBO and Greater Lafayette Commerce are partnering for a workshop.

You can sign up to learn about the importance of getting your business registered here.

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