Small Business Saturday is November 30, and we’re so excited about shopping small that we’re devoting the entire week to our very own local small business owners. From November 25-29, we’ll be featuring profiles on small business owners based in Snagajob’s hometown, Richmond, Va. Every day will be another chance to learn more about men and women doing the work they love while contributing to their community.
Anne Brasfield and Leigh Johnson are sisters and shop owners whose business is supporting local vendors by bringing them together under one roof . Their store, The Shops at 5807, consists of a collection of retailers selling their unique wares to shoppers in Richmond, Va. The shop is also home to Brasfield’s own small business Frillseekers, which has been operating for over 20 years. We had the chance to talk with both owners in one of the comfiest retailer shops in the store and learn about more about the shop’s famous “green bags” and what it’s been like working with their first male employee
Can you explain how The Shops at 5807 works with other small businesses?
Johnson – We’re home to over 20 mini boutiques, filled with little to big retailers that are all individually owned and have their own distinct personality. So many of our retailers have completely other careers: graphic artists, moms, interior designers. We have a lot of talent here.
Brasfield – This format allows those who wouldn’t be able to afford to or have the time to run a small business.
How long have you been involved with Small Business Saturday?
J – This is our third year working with the event and awareness had grown year by year, from the retailers’ and the consumers’ perspectives.
What are some hiring challenges you face throughout the year?
J – We don’t have very many because we think we have really good employees. They have to wear a lot of hats here and we want them to wow shoppers with their customer service.
B – We have to deal with over 20 businesses under one roof, so once you get it, you got it. Most of our hiring is on a part-time basis so it can be challenging to find the right person who doesn’t need or want a full-time job and has the availability to mesh with our schedule.
J – And be someone we can trust, not just with our business but everyone else’s.
What tools do you rely on during the recruiting and hiring process?
B – We use Facebook, other forms of social media and word-of-mouth.
J – We use our sandwich board outside: “Want to have a fun Saturday job?”
B – We also have our first male employee now and he’s great; he provides a new perspective.
How do you handle the holiday rush?
B – We get really really really busy and we’re stretched really thin, so we bring in extra help. We also gift wrap everything for free, whether it’s a $2 thing or a $200 thing.
J – It gets pretty frantic behind the counter, tissue paper and ribbon flying everywhere. We think we create a beautiful-looking gift and I believe our customers feel that way too. The “green bag” has become part of our brand.
What’s your favorite part of being a small business owner?
J – Interacting with the public and the customers, but I love every aspect of having a shop – buying, displaying and selling. We also do so many events here; part of our mission statement is giving back to the community. It can be challenging but it’s so rewarding. We live in a terrific community, everyone really pulls together.
Learn more about The Shops at 5807 at their official website and remember to Shop Small®!
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