When the Town of Stockholm, population 253, relocated its town office leaving a small building vacant in the center of town, Kristi and Glen Peterson saw an opportunity to make something new.
Kristi and Glen, who live down the road in New Sweden, rented the building and turned their sweat equity into a thriving business. The result: Jemtland Gypsy, a year-round hair salon providing top-quality styling and cuts and showcasing Kristi’s handcrafted bags, clothing, costumes, and other creations.
How did Kristi bring her business from idea to reality?
In 2009, Stockholm Town Manager Sheri Stone attended a networking event with New Ventures Maine (then known as Women, Work, and Community). When Kristi approached Sheri in summer of 2012 with ideas for the town office building, Sheri knew just where to send her for help with a sound business plan.
Kristi and Glen met with Aroostook County Microenterprise Coordinator Erica Quin-Easter to put their ideas on paper and talk about financing options. Kristi notes that their business plan was critical to Jemtland Gypsy’s start-up success: “Do your homework, research to make sure the business … will make it in the area you are looking in, and make sure you have a complete business plan when you go to the bank. This shows them that you are serious about your business.”
“Kristi and Glen were ready to get to work,” Erica remembers. “Within a few meetings, they had done their market research and mapped out projections.” Armed with facts and figures, Kristi and Glen approached their bank and secured a loan of just over $7,500. Then they set to work painting and refurbishing the town office into a bright, beautiful salon.
Three years after launching her business, Kristi has many changes to report. She and Glen welcomed new baby Suvi to their family in 2014. Kristi also celebrates that they have made the last payment on their business loan. Now, profits from the salon will help them pay down student loans and move their family toward a more secure financial future.
Kristi says, “New Ventures Maine opened me up! You allowed my dream to come true with possibilities I didn’t realize were out there. You helped me get my business together, directing me where I needed to go and organizing what I needed to make this happen.”