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ARCH GRANTS LOCATION CONFLICT

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OK… UPDATE ON ARCH GRANT PROCESS….THERE’S ONE LITTLE PROBLEM…..

I emailed the committee through their website requesting permission to submit my business as a valid entry even though it wouldn’t be located within Downtown St. Louis, but IS still located within the city limits. I have yet to receive a decision…so I am currently stuck in limbo, but I am not stopping any momentum I am trying to build up.  I am continuing on as I have been for the past year, and hopefully will get a big thumbs up…soon. There are major reasons why I want to launch outside of downtown; which I expressed my main ones through my email to the Arch Grants, and wanted to express in a little more detail why I don’t feel downtown is the best market to consider at this time (not to exclude it completely from future local expansion plans)

1.) Limited pedestrian traffic, and limited vehicle traffic. — Yes, this area is rebuilding and rebounding, which is awesome and amazing, but it hasn’t yet hit it’s peak, and there is no guarantee that, once it is completed, that it will pull people back to the downtown area.  My business could actually have a GREATER chance of FAILING by simply having to “wait and see” if the area does in fact, rebound.  Currently,  I don’t see a lot of daytime traffic (pedestrian or vehicle) outside of Washington Ave. and Market St.  And even then, it is only certain blocks on Wash Ave and Market that would make it a viable market for my company.

I don’t have the time to wait for my target market to come to me, nor, do I have the extra finances to invest in additional marketing, advertising, and enticing promotions.  I have to go to them….SIMPLE!  I find locations that ALREADY have the pedestrian and vehicle traffic established, in combination with, my customer demographics. Downtown, currently, is a POSSIBLE market, but not appropriate for my action plan at this time…unfortunately.

2.) Not exactly an open market….anymore — My initial excitement about launching in downtown was the fact that it was an open market opportunity.  There were no current resale providers (with a positive public image) within the area. However, last June, MOV clothing store launched at Washington and 13th. (My Round 1 Arch Grant submission last Feb/March listed CTA’s location to be at or near Washington and 4th) One of my stronger advantages is locating open or under-served locations, and as closely located to my target market as physically possible. It’s having that “head-start” in building the company’s customer/client loyalty that will be a big factor in CTA’s overall sustainability, and most importantly, being EASILY ACCESSIBLE to my customers and clients.  I welcome the competition, but there are big perks in being first!

St. Louis (as a whole) is a very business-loyal community.  If you execute your business correctly, you will have loyal customers for life — FOR EXAMPLE:  The Coffee Cartel  (located at Euclid and Maryland in the CWE) is a single location, and yet, their customers and associates are so die-hard loyal that this one little St. Louis coffee shop put big ‘ol Starbucks (which was located across the street) out of business.

3.) Crime in downtown – Being a police dispatcher for areas bordering with St. Louis City, I hear of a lot more that goes on than what most St. Louis residents and businesses know of.  Most crimes never make it to the evening news, and my confidence is still insecure for a few different reasons that I can’t currently disclose of at this time (professional/political conflict of interest) but they are compelling.

4.) Target market conflict – Like I said before, my business needs to be located as close to my customers  as possible.  This is one of my marketing strategies that will greatly increase my appeal to my customers, the flow of customer traffic into the store, and provide me with an endless supply of potential employees.  I do not have this advantage if I launch in downtown right now. The building I have picked out to become my “living business model” has a large concentration of my target market located right across the street, and directly next door….no joke. This is an area that most in my position could only dream of having, and yet, here I am, looking at the big FOR SALE sign on the building and dying a bit inside by truly knowing its full potential.

……I am really hoping that they will accept my business submission, and that I will be able to confidently pursue the competition! Right now, only time will tell.

–FIN

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Protected: ANOTHER….Hard Set Back….

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Ready to Risk it All!

Sitting in my office, enjoying the few moments of down time from dispatching on the radio. I start scrolling through my Twitter time line and coming across another story of success for a new start-up company that has secured (what is to me) a massive amount of funding, $250,000 to be exact, and all I could think of was “OH MY GOODNESS! I ONLY NEED A FRACTION OF THAT AMOUNT TO LAUNCH MY FIRST LOCATION”. I felt jealous and motivated at the same time. It’s an awkward feeling, and it’s an experience I have had many times before since I start putting my ideas into motion. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I can see all of the vital pieces I need to reach my goal in opening the Cargo Train headquarters/home-store, and it gets tougher the more time passes by and you still haven’t found what you are looking for. This is one personality characteristic that I do have, which is a lack of patience, especially when I am trying to be the first store and company of its kind in an open market area. I want to take advantage of having some breathing room to establish my company and begin building its reputation and customer loyalty without the competition smothering me, or being branded as a ‘knock-off” or “copy cat”.

As of right now, the closest location of my main competitor is over 15 miles away from where I want to launch.

Feelings of despair trying to knock you off course and try to make you lose your focus, and all you have to keep yourself going is knowing what an amazing opportunity your company really is, and not just for me, but for my future partners, employees, customers, and for the community itself. The biggest challenge is getting the ones who have the ability to take your venture to the next level believe in your idea as strongly as you do. Strong enough to confidently partner up and bring all of the pieces together.

I know I will be an incredibly strong force to be reckoned with in this particular industry. My strategies and advantages give me leaps above my competitors, and I am keeping those strategies very safe and quiet until the time comes to utilize them. The connections and relationships I have been developing and growing over the past 10+ years, & everyone who is standing by waiting for me to inform them that we’ve secured a financial partner(s) and are finally ready to hit this industry with everything we’ve got, is the pivotal moment that I am waiting for.

I’m working for that opportunity to prove what I’ve been speaking out about for the past year, and to show what I am fully capable of doing. After all, I was born and raised in the “show me” state…ironically.

My husband and I are currently in talks of relocating our family from what was our dream house into a much smaller place, as well as, begin to sell off as many of our belongings as we can. All of the money saved and earned will be going into, what I am calling, the “CTA Dream Fund”. This will be the beginning of the financial foundation of my company. It breaks my heart to let everything we’ve worked so hard for go, but this company means much more to me than my possessions right now.

A big part of getting to where you want to be is having the strength to let go of what you have. – Me

We are currently searching for available places to call our new home.

():-)

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