Macedon Public Library director Stacey Wicksall had the idea to make the library an economic incubator in fall 2015. The more she researched ideas, she started to realizes that offering something in macedon would benefit the community.
Wicksall research found that many urban libraries offer office space, resources and training to their community members interested in launching new businesses. She started meeting with Service Corps of Retired Executives mentors to figure out how best to design a workshop series.
“I reached out to lots of different people, and one thing led to another until I found the perfect partner in SCORE,” Wicksall said. “They were as excited about offering workshops aimed at entrepreneurs and new business owners as I was.”
The mentors advised her to meet with librarians from Rochester Public Library.
“I met with Linda Halliburton and Darlene Richards at the Rochester Public Library,” Wicksall said. “The two of them were absolutely invaluable. They told me what databases would be useful, showed me the business books they have, explained various resources I should direct people toward and talked about grant opportunities for businesses. They even introduced me to the Patent and Trademark Center housed in their library. I now have a good understanding of what I can offer at Macedon, and I have an outstanding resource I can direct people to who have needs that stretch beyond what I can directly offer at the Macedon Public Library.”
By May 2016, the library launched its first series of entrepreneur workshops. A dozen participants attended, and some were able to improve upon an existing business or launch a new one.
Melinda Kelsey attended the first series and now owns her own business in Macedon. With over 20 years of experience working for a vetinary group and 13 years focusing exclusively on cats, Kelsey knew she had the practical skills to open Kitten Around Cat Boarding LLC.
“I was so pleased to connect with so many useful professionals,” Kelsey said. “I now have trusted connections with Lyons National Bank, an accountant, a lawyer and an insurance company. There were just so many things I did not know until I went through these workshops. For one thing, I had no idea what the difference between a DBA and an LLC was.”
Mia Sohns, a fall participant in the workshop series, decided to attend the workshops to gain a better understanding as a LuLaRoe retailer.
“I learned about things my colleagues in the industry were unaware of, and I was proud to be able to share the information,” Sohns said. “For example, many had no idea how to go about getting an employer identification number for tax purposes, and I did.”
Jenn Walton attended the first session as an established business owner. She purchased a home in Macedon to open Jenn’s Hair Care in the basement.
“The program really brought me out of my shell,” Walton said. “We learned how important it is to be able to talk about our businesses to people, and that was really difficult for me. But they encouraged us and gave us tips on how to do it, and I am really surprised at how much better I am getting at it. I’ve been able to give people my business card and talk a little bit about my business. It’s fun to see the people I talk to eventually sitting in my chair.”
Walton’s business is in the country, and that can be an obstacle to attracting new clients. She quickly pointed out that her location is actually one of her greatest strengths.
“Being in the country lets people have a quiet experience without the worry of having anyone staring at them while they have their hair done,” Walton said. “Also, because I only take one person at a time, they receive lots of undivided, individualized attention. Once people experience this they are eager to come back.”
The library will offer another series of entrepreneur workshops in collaboration with SCORE starting May 10. Accepted applicants will pay a $40 fee.
For information, call 315-986-5932 or visit macedonpubliclibrary.org.