Small businesses increasing in Silverdale

Rufus Schell, an employee at Fingers Duke Design Studio in Silverdale, works on printing a T-shirt. The studio is among the newer businesses in the area and is part of an increasing trend of new enterprises. - Patrick McDonough/Staff photo
Rufus Schell, an employee at Fingers Duke Design Studio in Silverdale, works on printing a T-shirt. The studio is among the newer businesses in the area and is part of an increasing trend of new enterprises.
— image credit: Patrick McDonough/Staff photo

Small businesses are on the rise in the area and they are as diverse as the entrepreneurs who seek to make their place in the local economy.

According to officials at the Silverdale Cahamber of Commerce, the community has seen its share of openings and closings since the recession began in 2008 but recent trends show businesses are taking root in the area in increasing numbers.

Angela Sell, a longtime Silverdale Chamber of Commerce member and last year’s president said she has seen an uptick in the creation of new businesses recently.

“Within the last six months we have seen a lot more businesses open and more joining the chamber both small and large,” she said.

Sell, who is also a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Silverdale, said she believed the trend to be a possible union of connecting hope with economics.

“I think it is a combination of optimism and the economy picking up slowly,” she said.

The reasons for creating a small business can stem from anything from a sudden vision, an opportunity or simply a way to stay employed in a suffering market.

During and after the creation of an enterprise, small business owners face difficulties not least of which is money.

Sell said money can be difficult to come by for start ups.

“It is difficult getting money from banks right now,” she said. “They are still worried about economy and lenders are still unsure as to the state of the recovery.”

Ketti Lund, managing director of Precision Massage and Wellness Center, said the idea for the business she runs with her partner Blair Crittenden, derived from a sudden inspiration.

“I was turning the corner onto Randall Way and I saw a sign with space for lease and decided to call,” she said. “It was unintentional. I was just hit with a sudden vision.”

Lund said the couple decided to take a chance on the vision and even though banks were hesitant to loan money for a startup of a smaller business, the couple was able to borrow money on a personal loan.

The couple used the money to open the wellness center, which celebrated its first anniversary in February. Lund said the business is thriving and continues to grow.

Derek Gress, co-owner of Fingers Duke Design Studios in the Kitsap Mall, said his company was able to take wing with an opportunity and the help of another local business.

Gress said a prior employer had shuttered its doors and the screen printing equipment used for the business became available. He said he had been creating design and printing for Valholl Brewery and in exchange for continued work the brewery helped them pay for the equipment and get traction in the market.

“They wanted us to continue to do their marketing and design, and they also wanted to help another area small business,” Gress said.

Bryan Garrett, owner of Kitsap Errand Runner, said he had started his business with his personal savings and refused to go into debt with a loan.

The business started almost by accident according to Garrett. He said he was working in the auto industry and was laid off.

He said he spent nine months unemployed and during that time found himself running errands more and more frequently in his spare time for his mother and others. He said one day his mom asked him a question and the business was born.

“My mom asked me, ‘Why don’t you just run errands for people as a living,’ ” he said.

Garrett said his initial investment for his truck, insurance and bonding came from his savings and after more than two years in business his business is beginning to show stronger profits.

“I have seen a 59 percent increase in growth from January and June of this year compared to the same time last year,” he said.

Once a business has opened its doors, business owners said the path to success involves hard work, discipline and accountability, but many said it is worth the freedom of working for themselves.

“I really like my boss,” Garrett said. “But it takes a lot of discipline and you assume 100 percent of the risk.”

Garrett said he worked more than 80 hours a week through the first year of his business including working part time at a local casino before being able to get it off the ground.

Gress said he enjoys being the boss, but said it has always taken a great deal of his time.

“It is still great,” he said. “You are making something that is your own and that makes a real difference.”

Both Lund and Gress said small businesses need to stick together in the local community.

Lund said she had used local talent and businesses as much as possible in her business. She said everything from the artwork on the walls to helping others in the community were part of her business model.

“We offer local teachers free massages twice a year and one of our yoga instructors is working with the Olympic High School football team.

Gress said the focus of Fingers Duke is to promote local artists and he said the help he has received from Volholl Brewing is indicative of the community spirit many local businesses share with one another.

He said he found many small businesses in the area to truly embrace the philosophy of keeping it local.

“A lot of businesses keep it local in Kitsap,” he said. “It’s a big deal around here to keep it local.”

Lund and Gress said they also felt they helped in the local community through offering employment to other local residents. Lund said she currently  employs two massage therapists, a yoga instructor as well as an administrative assistant. Gress said he currently employs a full-time employee as well as two part-time employees.

Sell said she has seen some local businesses fail due to a lack of planning. She said many come to her with an idea and no plan, but that is not what she has seen make a successful business.

“People jump in with idea first and the plan later,” she said. “It should be opposite.”

Sell said start-ups have a wealth of options in receiving help, from the Small Business Administration and others.

Lund said she had used training through the Washington CASH Program that augmented business training from college.

She said the training was inexpensive and a good refresher for anyone considering opening their own business.

Gress said he had not utilized any help except from other local business owners he knew and used information from business classes in college to run the business side of his studio and store.

Garrett said he created his model from research online. He said he had modeled his business on other errand services around the country during late night Google searches and made notes on what he thought worked for them and would work with his idea.

Lund, Gress and Garrett all have seen growth in their businesses and have visions for the future.

Lund envisions franchising the model for her wellness center within the next few years.

Garrett said he is working to the point of expanding his business in the near future by adding trucks and employees. He said he also envisions expanding to other counties and even going nationwide at some point.

Gress said his studio has started creating an online presence and hopes to be able to offer designs on a larger scale in the near future.

“We want to wholesale clothing to small boutiques in areas such as Seattle, Spokane and Portland, and then we want to move down the West Coast,” he said.


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