NOKOMIS — Two recent meetings of Montgomery County CEO have involved conversations with a current Nokomis business owner and a CEO alum.
Andrea Ruppert, the proprietor of Trendz Hair Salon, would recently speak with the CEO class on Jan. 7. She would detail the humble beginnings of her salon, which was a rented house near Witt. She would later end up at their current location with additional support from her business partner.
Ruppert would hammer down the importance of the location of a business, which has been a contributor to the growth of her business over the years.
A CEO team member would inquire, “How do you grow your client base?” In a business climate, especially in a rural community, this is a really good question coming from budding entrepreneurs.
Ruppert would state, “I don’t really anymore.”
Ruppert eludes to the fact that the business has developed loyalty over the years.
The lesson learned in this session was bringing your business to potential customers until you build a brand. Offering a product that consumers will rave about will lead to success.
Ruppert would add that once this has been done, “then they [continue] coming to you.”
Trendz Hair Salon’s staff comprises of Ruppert, Ashley Hagemeier-Cole, and most recently, Heather Ettling. A member of their staff, Lori Kettlekamp, retired last month.
Trendz is located at 206 W. State St. in downtown Nokomis.
JoAnna Marley speaks to CEO on Jan. 13
CEO alum JoAnna Marley would speak before the CEO class on Jan. 13 about her experience in the program, her business Capital A Creations, and her future in occupational therapy. The class would take place during a Zoom conference call.
Marley would recall her experience in the class.
“I remember being on a boat with Karmyn Cox, who was also in CEO with me,” Marley recalls. “We were looking at all the big houses along the lake thinking, ‘we’re going to start businesses and live in houses like these someday.’”
Although Capital A Creations is not a national brand, it remains a successful side business for Marley.
“I had to stop doing T-shirts,” Marley stated, attributing that they were time-consuming.
However, she would add that she still does designs.
Marley would explain that she takes an occasional break to catch up on her schoolwork or for her personal life. However, there is one thing that keeps her motivated.
“I love to give back to my community,” she states to the class.
Marley is behind the design of dozens of fundraiser logos and various CEO logos, as well as designs for local events and organizations.
Although her business might not buy a large house on the lake, her CEO experience would create a very helpful side business. It has also expanded her appreciation for local businesses and her community.
Marley was part of Montgomery County CEO’s inaugural class in 2016.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.