Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Interview: Melinda Morris
All About Fifth caught up with Melinda Morris, owner of Lion and the Sun and Park Slope Civic Council (PSCC) Trustee, to talk about this year's PSCC annual forum “Growing a Business in Park Slope” scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at The Montauk Club, 25 Eighth Avenue (at Lincoln Place).
AAF: Tell us about your store-- why did you open Lion in the Sun and when did it open?
Morris: I opened Lion in the Sun in Park Slope almost 9 years ago because I saw a real need in the neighborhood for a high quality stationery store, with a focus on personal correspondences, fun paper and stationery products and unique creative custom printing. I opened this branch of my family business (which has been on LI for more than 30 years) because I really wanted to offer help to people creating beautiful designs, high quality, and experienced event advice when planning important family milestones and special events. Since 2002 we have been fortunate to grow and expand and have been so lucky to have grown into one of the “go-to” neighborhood places when you have good news to share!
AAF: What are some of the main challenges you face as a business owner?
Morris: Oh, where to start? Time management, for one. When it is your business you have to be on top of everything, sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, building maintenance, just to name a few. I always find that every independent business owner I know never seems to have enough hours in the day to get everything done. But it is that personal commitment and passion that keeps you going. When it is your own business, you have a lot of drive and commitment to meet the needs of your clients.
Big box and online competitors are also a major challenge. I completely understand the convenience and even the cost factor, both are sometimes hard for us little guys to compete with. But honestly my favorite thing about Park Slope is the loyalty of our clients. They go out of their way to try and support the local, privately owned businesses. And they know, in return, we will always go that extra mile for them. I believe that relationship is a very unique and special thing these days.
AAF: As the principal organizer of this event-- what are you hoping to accomplish with this years' forum?
Morris: I hope that this event is first and foremost educational. As a small business owner we are all so often isolated in the intensity of our own business world. But there is so much knowledge and experience we can gain from each others experiences—both successes and failures. I believe we can always learn from one another in a positive way. Park Slope is such a vibrant connected community. I am eager to find new ways we can draw on that strength as a group to help support local business so that they can grow and thrive—and perhaps even build a network by forging connections and networking opportunities for local business owners, entrepreneurs and independent contractors.
To register or get updates about the event, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If registering, please let them what type of business you're in or would like to start, and what you hope to learn at the forum. Updates will be regularly posted at: www.parkslopeciviccouncil.org/growing-business. The event is sponsored by the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID, the Park Slope Chamber of Commerce, and Warren Lewis Realty.