In this tough economy, starting a business is a big step. But the city of Marianna is seeing a handful of individuals take that step.
Jane Bodkin is one of them. She grew up in Marianna. She later moved to Tallahassee but in the last year has moved back to the area and started a business. "I just saw a need for a lot of fun little gifts here and I've always wanted to do it," says Bodkin about her new store, Delight. "We carry a lot of unusual items that have been loves of mine that I've collected over the years."
Inside Delight is also a coffee bar and café, something Bodkin says was a real hit with customers when it opened a few months ago. "We were turning people away at the door so we were hoping to expand over there so we've done that," says Bodkin. About a month ago, Bodkin opened up Indulge just a few doors down from Delight.
Two new businesses opened up across the street in Mainstreet Marianna. Red Honeysuckle is a boutique that's been open for about a month and resides next to Little Mama Boutique, owned by Lisa Stevens.
"I quit my job to be with my boys and to be a momma, so that's how little momma came," says Stevens. She opened up the store almost four months ago where she sells custom clothing and woodwork. She was a little nervous at first to give this business of hers a storefront but she says it's been nothing but a success. "Starting a business out of your home, you don't have any overhead," explains Stevens, "so that was a little nerve shattering." However she says it's been wonderful and the response of the community has been great."
Charlotte Brunner is the Mainstreet Marianna Director and says an antique shop and another gift shop have also recently opened their doors bringing the total to 6 new businesses in the past 6 months.
"In these tough economic times, when you see these small businesses opening up, it just spells success for downtown," says Brunner, who credits the recent boom in businesses to recent renovations to the downtown area over the past few years. "There's been a lot of momentum, a lot of projects, infrastructure, and when you get that going on, it spurs a lot of excitement and pride in the community."