WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating a couple of local entrepreneurs.
If you take a stroll through downtown Wichita Falls, you’ll find several businesses that are owned by women: fearless risk-takers who thought they could, and did.
“Teaching classes, calling parents, getting costumes, setting up recitals, and doing all the money stuff. It takes a lot of work but I realized that I was doing it. I could do this and I love this. I am passionate about this and I can do this the rest of my life,” said Kiera Simmons, Owner/ Instructor of Little Hearts Dance Studio.
Little Hearts Dance Studio is the culmination of things she is very passionate about.
“I use to be that cheerleader, I use to be that friend like ‘you can do it.’ I believe in you! This is amazing, and to get that in return it’s powerful, it’s incredible. It really gives me that push to continue. I have people coming up to me every day like you’re that instructor. You’re that teacher, and I’m like I am. It’s so great. I love it. I enjoy it. Now, I want to cheer for the kids, pull that out of the kids eventually,” said Simmons.
“Support” is key - for long-term business owner Carrie Roberts Gardner who owns Healthy’s Downtown. Gardner knew from a young age that she wanted to run a business.
“So, at 10 when we lived in College Station I saw a farmer at the gas station he had a big bunch of extra tomatoes and he sold them to me for like $5, which was a lot of money but I was a kid and I had a paper route so I had it. So, I did that and I sold them in a 4-pack and made $30 which was a lot of money for a kid,” said Carrie Roberts Gardner.
And she’s still going strong. Even when the pandemic threatened to throw her business off course, Gardner didn’t back down.
“I just decided to keep showing up every day. I didn’t care if people were here or not I just kept showing up,” said Gardner.
Across the street, Simmons got creative by adding some online options.
“What’s next? What’s the next step? How do we get people in the door? How am I going to get more parents in? Oh, we can do it online. Now everyone is sick of doing it online. How can we get (them) to step foot in the door to keep the cash flowing and keep the doors open?” said Simmons.
Both women offered up a little advice for those aspiring to get into the business: don’t do it just for the money. Gardner adds “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”