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Entrepreneurs reaching for their dreams with unique partnerships

Special to The Enterprise

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two local people had dreams of owning their own boutiques for years. Instead of the pandemic dampening those dreams, it set the stage for the two to start their own businesses and delve into the creative entrepreneurial world. Now, Lisa Bronchik is the owner of Label 3 Boutique and Samantha Holcomb is the owner of Talan + Lou, both online boutiques with local pop-up, in-person shopping experiences. 

As Bronchik was deciding to pursue her dreams, she reached out to Crystal Lorimor, of the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) of Belmont County, for assistance and direction. Lorimor introduced Lisa to the Small Business Development Center, and together, the three worked through ideas, plans, and start-up. 

As Label 3 was launching, Holcomb was on a similar track. Realizing they each had similar dreams but different fashion styles, they realized their businesses could help and complement one another rather than being seen as competition. 

“Once Sam and I started talking about our passion to open our own boutiques, I instantly knew we would be a great team. It just felt right,” Bronchik said.

“Our friendship sparked and we feel like we’ve known each other for years. We have a great understanding and respect for one another and share the same goals of where we want to be in the future,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb reached out to the CIC for some information and guidance on some things, as well. Once Lorimor knew both women, the wheels were set in motion. Unbeknownst to the women, Lorimor had been working for about a year with the First Presbyterian Church of St. Clairsville to create a business incubator type of space – a space where small businesses and start-ups could economically have space and also have the support and resources of the CIC. “In addition to our help, research, and strategizing in all facets of running a business, any of the participating businesses can also use our conference room if needed,” Lorimor said. “We are just down the street, so it makes a convenient partnership. We are thankful the First Presbyterian Church was willing to partner and help Belmont County entrepreneurs.”

The church was just getting its space ready when the pandemic hit, so the project was put on hold for a bit. As they decided to move forward, Lorimor thought of Bronchik and Holcomb. Both were operating their online businesses out of their homes. “I knew they had to be outgrowing their home spaces already. Between having inventory, space to package and ship, space to take photos and do the back-end of the business, I know it’s easier if you have dedicated space to do all of those things rather than moving one project to do another.” Lorimor texted the businesses and showed them the space the same day. 

“It’s a different world than when our education building was built,” Pastor Kenn Sickle, of First Presbyterian Church, said.  “We don’t require the space we once did. But when one door closes, God opens another and so, we felt that our building can serve people in a different way. And so, we welcome Samantha and Lisa and consider them extensions of our church family.”

Now, Label 3 and Talan + Lou will have a new space for their inventory and back-office responsibilities. The church is thrilled to be using its space to help the community, and the CIC is happy to help two more businesses get started and reach their goals. The group will continue to work together in 2021 to develop and implement new plans. 

The business owners held a Galentine Event on Feb. 13, at 110 S. Marietta Street in St.Clairsville. The pop-up studio will also be open for shopping from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Follow along on their social media for updates on studio hours and local pop-up dates and locations. Both can be found on Facebook and Instagram under Label 3 Boutique and Talan+Lou Boutique.

If you need assistance starting a business or running your existing business, reach out to Lorimor at lorimor@belmontcic.com or 740-695-9678 for confidential assistance.  “We love helping people pursue their dreams. Our services to businesses of all sizes and in all stages of the life-cycle are at no cost,” Lorimor said.