There’s no official Facebook group for “Business Women of the Village,” nor a monthly brunch to talk shop over Eggs Benedict — they’re far too busy juggling work and personal lives for that — but such doesn’t stop the 20-plus women who own businesses throughout Shelter Island Drive, Scott, Cañon and Rosecrans streets from supporting each other.
“Girls rule in Point Loma Village!” states Shelly Phegley, co-owner of the online CBD oils and skincare company Cordial Organics.
According to several other Village businesswomen, word-of-mouth and referrals are the No. 1 way they encourage one another.
When customers pop into Jennings House Café for a hot cuppa joe on their way to buy a gift, owner Cathy Gallagher makes sure to refer them to nearby shops such as En Concordia or Rare Bloom Boutique.
Shelly and Desi McKinnon, co-owners of Cordial Organics, said they take it upon themselves to tell customers about La Playa Books and Beach Community Acupuncture. Though their sales are all made online, the duo knows the importance of foot traffic to the other businesses. “I think because we live in this community as well, it makes us extra invested in everyone’s success and well-being — not just our own,” said Shelly.
The camaraderie between shops, salons, cafés and the other businesses throughout the Village is evident.
Amy Hesselink has been running her father’s store, La Playa Books, since it opened three years ago, and has had several opportunities to cultivate partnerships with fellow businesswomen.
“I’ll go over to Cathy on the corner at Jennings House Café and say, ‘Hey, we’re having an event. Can you donate some coffee?’ And then I think, ‘OK, I’m going to reciprocate by having a poetry event there and have people go to her store.’ We all tend to work together on little events,” Amy told Point Loma-OB Monthly.
She added that she was approached two years ago by The Wine Pub & Coffee Hub and Café owner Sandy Hanshaw, who pitched the idea of hosting a monthly book club meeting for La Playa Books clientele at The Wine Pub on Monday nights, when business tended to be slow. This proved the perfect set-up for bringing more people into the Wine Pub, while solving Amy’s dilemma of a bookstore too small to host such an event.
“Having another woman as another business owner next to you means a shorthand of communication,” Amy explained. “A lot of us are juggling things besides the businesses… you either got a family, or a partner, an older relative or a child, or something. So I feel like we’re able to communicate (our needs)… really easily with one another.”
Madison Augustine opened Sea Salt & Skin Waxing Salon on Oct. 1, taking over the space where Dick + Jane was formerly located, and where she was once a client.
Though Sea Salt & Skin has only been open a few months, Madison said she’s already experienced the support of surrounding businesses. En Concordia owner Teresa Renfro said she could get Madison plants for her salon, and both Cathy of Jennings and the women at Notorious for Hair nudged customers in her direction.
“Even if it’s not an official get-together, we all have each other’s backs,” Madison insisted. “Even unspoken, we all know that if our small businesses do better, it just expands through the whole community.”
Keep in mind: This isn’t a women versus men thing; on the contrary, Desi and Shelly sing praises of the men in the Village who have been nothing but helpful. Sandy put it best: “I don’t gravitate naturally to women (or men), I gravitate to my neighbors.”
And, well, in the Village, there just happens to be a lot of women business neighbors.
One of the longest-lasting businesses in the Village is calling on community members outside of the business network to do their part to ensure the quaint Village vibe isn’t blown away by big corporate businesses.
Ex-Certified Public Accountant and present-day chef Jennifer Marie has owned and operated The Elegant Truffle for the past 12 years, selling hand-made desserts and goodies to the public, and only taking three Saturdays off since opening.
Despite the long hours, the to-die-for dessert plates and outlasting multiple fine-dining restaurants within a few blocks of her shop, Jennifer said her business is struggling in a “order-it-on-your phone, push-a-button” world.
“Small businesses like mine will not survive this generation,” she said, acknowledging that nowadays, people like to order food online and have it ready immediately. “So when you drive by a little business, whatever it is, stop in,” she urged. “Say hello. You never know what you’re gonna find. And we appreciate it.”
Despite the temptation of quick-and-easy online shopping, many agree that Point Lomans want to shop locally.
“(The community wants) to support the people who are here,” said Cathy of Jennings House Café. “They don’t necessarily want to support the bigger corporate coffee places.”
To ensure the Village maintains that local vibe, Amy of La Playa Books offers a logical course of action: “Visit and buy something within your budget: one local business, once a month. You have to step up and make a purchase.”
Jeanne Ellen Scott owns the newly opened Eclectic Home + Closet at 1130 Scott St., across from The Elegant Truffle, and has lived in Point Loma for the past 33 years. She knows the marketplace well, and respectfully refers to her target base as “The Point Loma Ladies.” But knowing her clientele doesn’t ensure sales.
“There’s been a lot of people who’ve come in and absolutely loved the store, and then not bought anything,” she said. “It’s not like you have to buy something every time you come in here, please know I don’t have that expectation by any means.”
Your business owners are your neighbors
Owners from The Wine Pub/Coffee Hub, Jennings House Café, Sea Salt & Skin, Eclectic Home + Closet, and multiple other Village businesses have something in common: They reside in Point Loma, if not within just blocks of their establishments.
“By shopping locally, you’re supporting your neighbors, your community and your schools,” Shelly said. “It trickles out.”
Rare Bloom Boutique, in its seventh year, is owned by Sarah Srager, who has lived in Point Loma all her life. Her parents moved here in 1974 for her dad’s Navy career.
She’s been the official owner for the past two-and-a-half years, having taken over the shop after her mother, Karen Stevens passed away.
The community was quick to step in.
“People were coming in and being so supportive,” Sarah said, recalling how some shared their own stories of losing parents. “So that kind of got me through it.”
Sarah’s mother had opened a couple shops in Point Loma, as well as one in Bird Rock, feeling confident in her location choices due primarily to her confidence in the community.
“She loved Point Loma and she knew a lot of people,” said Sarah. “She knew if she opened a store in Point Loma, she’d have a lot of people that would support her right out of the gate.”
And so she did, and so does Sarah today.
Convenience vs Community
Shopping somewhere else can look like going to the mall or making online purchases via Amazon, a company name dropped by a handful of Village business owners.
“A lot of the products you can find on Amazon may be a dollar or two cheaper than what we offer,” said Madison of Sea Salt & Skin. “But then you have to ask if it’s worth it to you to support your local businesses and keep the thriving economy we have here alive?”
Besides, Desi and Shelly argue, online shopping isn’t always the simplest method to making a purchase. The excessive plastic waste and boxing that comes from shipping products and making returns is just the tip of their “con list” for ordering online. The “pro list” for shopping locally, includes mental and physical health benefits from face-to-face socialization. “If people consider these things, all of a sudden, online shopping becomes very inconvenient,” Desi opined.
“And honestly,” she added, “nothing is cooler than walking to someplace and getting to pick up something you didn’t expect, and exchanging information you didn’t realize you needed to know — and then walking back home with your cup of coffee.”
More Women-owned Businesses in the Village
• Beach Community Acupuncture, 1024 Rosecrans St.
• Wee Gather, 3030 Cañon St.
• En Concordia, 3028 Cañon St.
• Point Loma Village Florist, 3021 Cañon St.
• Notorious for Hair, 3025 Cañon St.
• Flirt in Point Loma Beauty Supply & Salon, 1050 Rosecrans St.
• Salon Diego, 1050 Rosecrans St.
• Point Loma Coffee, 1302 Rosecrans St.
• Land and Sea Design, 2841 Cañon St.
• PilateZENergy, 2841 Cañon St.
• Sea Chest, 1320 Scott St.
• Paru Tea Bar, 3034 Cañon St.
Editor’s Note: If we missed listing your woman-owned business, please send us an e-mail and we’ll mention it in the next issue: firstname.lastname@example.org