Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
4972 Chestnut St.
344 Main St.
Owner: Katie Rothermel
Hours: Winter: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What you sell?
Women’s clothing and accessories.
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Why did you choose to locate your business in Emmaus?
Emmaus is just a wonderful little town -- it’s sort of on an upswing. As a working mother the hours are fantastic, it’s not like being in a mall. It’s just a nice little town, and I couldn’t ask for better.
How long have you been in business?
It’ll be a year on March 15.
What inspired you to start your business?
Well, I’d thought about it my entire life and just decided this was the right time. I did it on a whim. I started thinking about it in October, put the bid in on my lease before Christmas, took possession Feb. 1 and opened May 15.
What makes your business different from the competition?
I stress wearability, quality and price, and I try to provide as many U.S.-made products as possible.
What is the most rewarding part of your business?
The people you meet.
What’s the hardest part of your business?
Surprisingly, working with some of the vendors and coordinating things with them. Sometimes they’re not too honest.
Where do you hope to see your business in the future?
Well, to a degree I feel like I’ve achieved what I want to achieve. I have a nice customer base that grows pretty consistently. I’m pretty happy with the way things are going. I didn’t make a profit this year, but I’m hoping that this next year I will.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
I went to the Small Business Development Center at Lehigh University, did a business plan, and met with a woman about starting up my business. She looked my plan over and said “What are you here for? You really have a great business plan.” Although it wasn’t advice, that positive feedback from her was really great to hear. I really recommend that other people go through the same process I did. Even if you think you know exactly what you’re doing it’s still beneficial to hear someone else’s advice.
What business advice would you give to someone else?
Do a business plan. I think too many people don’t do one. People should also realize that their business plans will evolve. Read a book, because there are tons of them out there, and have extra money.
Do you have a role model for what you do?
I had been thinking about opening a business for a long time and I would say to myself “No, you can’t do that.” And then I sort of realized that I didn’t want to live my life wishing I had done this and that I should just bite the bullet. I would say that my role models are the women who just do it- the women who jump and are positive thinkers.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I have two children and a husband and take care of them. I exercise and volunteer at the Allentown Art Museum and SOTA (Society of the Arts) and am also involved in the Allentown Symphony.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.