Money spent here stays here

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March 3, 2016 11:12 AM

April Feddesen and her husband, Keith Gagnon, opened On the Border Bakeshop a month before the economy got bad. Through creativity and positive attitudes they've managed to keep the shop open and encourage others to follow their dreams despite the hard economic times.

April Feddesen presses a lemon, sliced in half, into a manual juicer.
She twists it firmly, making the juices run into the collector at the bottom of the device.
“Real lemon, that’s what people want, right?”
Her question is rhetorical as she knows full well her customer base expects all the ingredients at her bakeshop to be authentic.
Feddesen opened On the Border Bakeshop with her husband, Keith Gagnon, 14 months ago—a month later they noticed the economy getting rough.
Regardless of the poor economic times, Gagnon doesn’t shy away from encouraging people to follow their dreams.
His advice for someone looking to start a business in a shaky economic environment is to trust your gut and avoid the opinions of naysayers.
“If someone says it’s not a good idea, don’t listen to them because it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“Lots of people pulled off that whole, ‘You’re not going to make it like a year, or six months, with a bakeshop selling birthday cakes and what not.’
“But you have to go with what you feel and what you think you can do — you’re in control of your own destiny; If you want to make it, you can go for it.”
Gagnon also knows the need in supporting fellow community businesses.
The benefits of keeping money in a community should be a no-brainer.
Those are the dollars that form much of a local economy and a healthy economy goes toward a healthy municipality.
Gagnon and Feddesen have been navigating their independently owned business through these tough times since the beginning, and he talks about the importance of spending money at other stores and shops in the community.
“We keep the money in Lloyd and spend at other local shops. We also donate to charities; we don’t have some vacation home in the Bahamas that we sail off to in the wintertime,” he said with a laugh.
“People come here and spend their money — I’m going to go to Spiro’s or Tasty K’s and buy supper. It stays in the community.”
He also said he and April want to be part of the community and one of the landmarks in the city, stressing that opening up shop is about more than just money.
Even so, they have noticed a financial struggle and are doing their best in finding ways to keep their heads above water.
He said they don’t have the financial backing of a franchise and are taking it slow to be safe.
“We bought the bare necessities and we have a small space,” he said.
“We were crawling, then we want to walk, then hopefully we can get running. So that’s what’s been saving us.”
Some of the methods they have been using to try and stay in the game include selling baked goods at Bobcats games, starting a delivery service and opening up early if customers need them to.
They also have no problems working late if needed and do their best to show their customers a good experience every time one walks through the door.
“We’re still staying open, it’s nothing crazy but we try to make it a good experience for everyone when they come in,” said Gagnon. “
“You want the customer to leave happier than they were when they came, right?”
The pair also tries to have a good selection of products on hand, and as Feddesen’s lemon juicing shows, make sure everything is fresh for the buyers.
With their positive attitudes, strong work ethic and attention to efficiency, Gagnon and Feddesen might be examples of what it takes to operate a resilient local business in these times of economic adversity.

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