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Shop Talk: Local entrepreneurs offer teens business advice

Grace Byers, George Washington High School
Executive Insurance owner Yolanda Tam encourages teens interested in starting a business to go for it. She also advises them to find a good mentor.
Grace Byers, George Washington High School Ivor Chef owns Ivor's Trunk on Lee Street. Starting a business was the right move for him because he didn't want to work for other people.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There are many great business owners in Charleston, and soon, the next generation will flow into the world to join them. Here, local entrepreneurs offer tips on how to succeed in business and the perks of having your own.

Ivor Chef, who owns the clothing boutique Ivor's Trunk on Lee Street, loves his business. His advice is, "Do not open a business you are not passionate about."

Thirty years ago, before opening his shop, he didn't want to work for other people, he said, and that led him to his great job. He said a perk for him is being able to choose his hours.

"If I don't want to come to work until noon, I don't have to."

Tammy Krepshaw, who owns The Consignment Company on Capitol Street, agrees with Chef that passion is key. It's the most important thing, she said.

"When you get in your car and go to work, you have to be happy about where you are going. Personally I feel very fortunate about what I do."

Her advice to future entrepreneurs is while you're in school, learn marketing, computer skills, accounting and everything about the subject of the business you want to open.

Adam Kimble, who owns Charleston's beloved Peanut Shoppe on Capitol Street, said his business was passed down to him. It was started by his grandfather and has been in his family for 64 years.

"Make sure you have plenty of schooling -- the marketing side of it and the business side of it," he advised.

Yolanda Tam, who owns Executive Insurance, didn't start out as a business owner, but she soon knew that owning a business was her calling. "I enjoy what I do so much that I was finding myself doing it 6 days a week, and that's when it occurred to me I needed to start my own business."

Her advice to teens who want to start their own business is to do it and also to find a good mentor. For her, the people she works with are one of the benefits of being a business owner.

"A real perk is getting to see people who work with you and for you excel," she said. "Flexibility and schedule are not really perks because you are there before the place opens and after it closes."

Tracy Abdulla and his wife, Krista, own The Performing Arts Conservatory on Quarrier Street. The dance studio is a way for Krista to turn her love into a business pursuit.

Abdulla's advice is to do a lot of research on your potential business. "Do as much research as possible," he said. "Research your market. You need to write a business plan, and it is always changing, so keep writing revisions."

Finally, Deno Stanley owns Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille on Capitol Street. "My favorite thing about owning my business is taking the pride and care of things that I create and pleasing my customers," he said.

He mentioned it's a very demanding job but said it's also very rewarding and has helped him grow in many ways.


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