Carper tours businesses in downtown Dover

U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper crosses Loockerman Street Friday with America’s SBDC Delaware business adviser Bobbie Schmittinger during his walking tour of downtown Dover businesses with SBA deputy director John L. Banks behind them.  (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper crosses Loockerman Street Friday with America’s SBDC Delaware business adviser Bobbie Schmittinger during his walking tour of downtown Dover businesses with SBA deputy director John L. Banks behind them. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER— Tammy Parris always envisioned owning a high end luxury boutique in downtown Dover.

“It was always my dream,” Ms. Parris said.

She is now the owner of Parris Nail Lounge, as she said if it wasn’t for the Small Business Administration her idea would have never turned into a reality.

“The SBA was critical in helping me understand everything I needed to know about opening a business,” Ms. Parris said.

The business is located at 149 S. Governors Ave., in Dover.

Celebrity Style Vintage Boutique owner Marcella Pigford of Dover meets U.S. Sen. Tom Carper Friday in her Loockerman Street store.

Celebrity Style Vintage Boutique owner Marcella Pigford of Dover meets U.S. Sen. Tom Carper Friday in her Loockerman Street store.

“I wasn’t sure if I was able to go through the process myself, but I was able to do so and without them I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.

On Friday morning U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Dover officials toured Parris Lounge and Celebrity Style Vintage Boutique to see first-hand how the SBA is helping to create opportunities for business owners in Downtown Dover.

“We’re here to help any way that we can, as our job is to help small business owners be successful,” Sen. Carper said.

The SBA has delivered millions of loans, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses, Sen. Carper said.

The SBA states that its mission is to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by aiding, counseling, assisting and protecting the interests of small businesses and by providing loan guarantees through private sector lenders to help qualified small businesses secure financing on reasonable terms.

“I love the idea of job creation and economic growth,” Sen. Carper said. “We want to make sure that people who want to start businesses have that access.

“Anything that creates that nurturing environment is what we strive for.”

Marcella Pigford opened Celebrity Style Vintage Boutique in 2013.

U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper, left, greets SCORE-certified counselor Herb Konowitz of Dover as he enters the Downtown Dover Partnership building for his walking tour of Loockerman street businesses Friday.

U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper, left, greets SCORE-certified counselor Herb Konowitz of Dover as he enters the Downtown Dover Partnership building for his walking tour of Loockerman street businesses Friday.

The shop is located at 32 W. Loockerman Suite 101 B in Dover.

She said the SBA was a big help in getting her store off of the ground.

“They were amazing,” Ms. Pigford said. “I walked in with an idea, as I was little lost at first. “But they helped me find my way by helping me put together a business plan and finding the location that was right for me.

Nicole Ford, who is a junior at Delaware State University, is an assistant at Parris Nail Lounge and follows her mentor’s footsteps anyway that she can.

“I watch what she does,” Ms. Ford said. “I see what she does right and wrong. She helps me learn, so I can do this one day.”

“The experience has been great. It’s something that I have a passion for. I’ve been doing this since I was 9 and to see it come full circle is a great feeling.”

Ms. Parris said it’s important for business owners to do what they love, as the money will eventually come.

“You have to do what makes you happy,” Ms. Parris said.

“Money is wonderful. It’s a part that’s needed to be successful, but the most important thing is your happiness. If you concentrate on that aspect then the money will eventually follow.”

 

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