Kim Stocking, owner of Bella Terra Boutique, was like many small business owners when she started. “I jumped in with both feet without knowing a lot about running a business!” she says. “I kind of just learned things along the way, made my mistakes and kept moving forward.” Her entrepreneurial drive and determination led her to become a successful owner of the boutique selling a wide variety of fashion, jewelry, and gifts for everyone from kids to adults.
When the pandemic hit this hub of tourism in Northern Idaho however, Stocking was faced with a retail owner’s worst fear – shutting her front door. She had just purchased thousands of dollars of inventory when she had to close the shop and furlough several employees.
Despite the hardship, Stocking reached deep into her entrepreneurial playbook to try and save her business. “I worked long hours to transition most of my sales to social media and soon started selling much of my merchandise on Facebook and Instagram,” says Stocking. “I’ve built up a loyal customer base, and many of those folks started buying from me online. Yes, it brought me business, but more importantly, it brought me joy to feel my customer’s support and loyalty.”
That feeling of joy is what Stocking and Bella Terra are Passing On to a customer with a shopping spree at the store which has now reopened. With Columbia Bank paying the bill, Bella Terra is selecting someone from the community affected by COVID-19 and giving them a chance to gather items throughout the store, free of charge.
“I think Pass It On should be the way we always think,” says Stocking. “My customers supported me when I needed them, and I want to support someone with happiness and joy.”
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