There is a saying, "if you want it done right, do it yourself". A lot of times women are the ones saying it and it looks like a large group of women in Vermillion are putting their money where their mouth is. Nancy Naeve won't go as far as to say they are running the world, but they are running Main Street in Vermillion and they are all succeeding wildly.
Vermillion's downtown is bustling, even on a Monday morning at 10:00. Window shopping is especially fun here because nearly all the stores are filled which is bucking a national trend where you see downtown's starting to dwindle. Here in Coyote Country you can credit the boom in business to the women.
"They are risk takers, they are go getters, and they really get it. They get this community." Executive Director of the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company Steve Howe said.
Bekki Engquist-Schroeder definitely gets it and loves owning and operating her own business called "The Spa at Winnie Mae". She bought the building in February on her own, not with mom and dad's money or her husbands and picked it because her mom Crystal Solomon has room for her store "The Front Porch" in the front. She says she is all in.
"So many times we end up following our husbands career when I opened up this business, my husband knows I'm committed to this business and we aren't going anywhere. We are here for the long run and this was a commitment he had to make with me, " Engquist-Schroeder said.
Next to the Bekki's spa is "Willson's Florist" owned and operated by Emily Sudbeck.
"I've owned it a little over a year. I worked her when I was in college and a little after I graduated and now we are kind of working on making it our own and loving it, "Sudbeck said.
A few shops down is "Nook 'n Cranny". Now when I went to school here in the late 80's, this store, the flower shop and the bars were the only things down here. Gloria Christopherson remembers. She just celebrated her 40th year on Main Street. Her advice?
"To keep the vision of what you really have a passion for cause it takes a lot of hours and you have to work really hard, "Christopherson said.
These women aren't just making their presence known on their store fronts; they are making their mark on the community.
"We are also seeing more and more women popping up on our boards, and committees in the community. They are leading things like community foundations, chamber boards, and city council. Women are definitely beginning to dominate in Vermillion right now, " Howe said.
And because of our feature on them, the women decided to step out of their stores, line up on the street and capture this moment in time. They are keeping Main Street alive and well and I'd say downtown Verm Town has never looked so good.
There are 36 women owned and operated business in downtown Vermillion. All of them work together to help empower and mentor other women to keep the momentum going.
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