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Cindy SmithSmall Business Owner
Cindy Smith, owner of Party Hardy, was inspired to start a party supply store in Watson Chapel after observing the need and potential for such in-demand commodities. Cindy also perceived starting the business as a way to garner more income for the family household. “I realized people were traveling to Little Rock and purchasing party supplies online rather frequently. Then it occurred to me—why not start a party supply store here in town so people will not have to spend money on gas or shipping and handling for party items.” After many days of contemplating the idea, Jason and Cindy began the paperwork to start the business.
Party Hardy, “the place where the party starts,” offers Wilton Cake Decorating classes and supplies, Mylar and latex balloons with helium services, themed birthday supplies (such as Hello Kitty, Batman, Spiderman, Little Pony, & Dora), baby and bridal shower décor, piñatas, and over-the-hill decorations. Research shows that parents spend hundreds of dollars on favors and activities for their children’s birthday parties. Realizing there was a market for the business, Cindy did not hesitate to take the next step.
In Fall 2004, Cindy and her sister took the First Step™ FastTrac® Business Training classes to learn more about how to start a business. Initially Cindy had planned to start a different business. After a year of deciding what business to start, Jason and Cindy paid Southern Good Faith Fund (SGFF) a visit. The business plan was updated to reflect the new business idea and the couple was ready to begin the process. SGFF Business Development Center staff gave Cindy a list of procedures to follow before the doors of Party Hardy could open for business.
Cindy did not start the business without challenges. The greatest challenge was bringing the building up to inspection code. City ordinances and inspection codes had been updated since the last business owners occupied the space; therefore, the Smiths were responsible for getting the building in compliance with inspection codes. After meeting the standards, Cindy followed these procedures to start: complete forms for assumed name, acquire a State and Federal Tax-ID number, open a business checking account and acquire occupational license from the City. Party Hardy opened for business December 5, 2005.
Cindy advises aspiring entrepreneurs to attend the First Step™ FastTrac® Business Training classes, save money for a few years, maintain positive credit and incorporate the business because it allows you more tax deductions.
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