For the past 18 months, Reagan Williamson has worked alongside her mother, Patricia Luedtke, to make their business, 4L Marketplace, a success in downtown Midlothian.
As customers have discovered the store success they sought has followed.
The store offers local vendors rental space to sell their items, ranging from furniture, home décor, apparel, and jewelry.
The idea for the business first took root when Williamson and her husband, Weston, moved back to Texas after spending three years in Washington, DC.
“When we moved back we were trying to find something to do. We started going to antique malls and looking for little projects that we could do,” Williamson said. “My dad got involved, and it got a little bit more then we expected. We were renting booths over in Waxahachie and (found) there is not any place like this over in Midlothian.”
Williamson stated friends expressed support for her to open a store in the community. The support helped Williamson's decision open a physical location a lot easier.
“It helped that we had some people already committed before we open the store to rent space from us,” Williamson said. “Of course there is a risk that you’re taking, especially if you're renting a building in downtown that can be kind of costly. It can be scary, but I have a good support system with my parents and the vendors.”
One of the challenges Williamson and Luedtke have faced is getting residents to see the value of shopping locally, as well as brand recognition.
“A lot of times people come in and think that we are still the quilt store because they were here for 16 years. So I think exposure and getting people to know that we are here is important,” Williamson explained. “Getting them out of the habit of going to the mall to shop and trying to get them to shop local is one of the things that we stress a lot.”
She explained community involvement has helped them connect them with their customers and the customers with the store.
“When we have special events and stuff, the community turns out like crazy. When we had the wine walk we had 3,000 people through here,” Williamson recalled. “On Small Business Saturday, we had a line out the door.”
Patricia Luedtke shared her daughter's thoughts about their first year in business together. She noted working together has been a unique learning experience and looks forward to it continuing.
According to Forbes Magazine, small businesses generate three-fifths of net new jobs, driving a significant share of U.S. employment growth. In total, small businesses employ 58 million or 47.8 of all private sector employees.
Williamson advises potential business owners to have a support system in place — not only on the financial end by on the emotional end. She noted words of encouragement help to give a person confidence boost during stressful moments. Over the next 18 months, Williamson and Luedtke look to grow the business and hope to add new vendors.
The store is located at 211 W. Avenue F in downtown Midlothian. It is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday - Friday and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Monday. Staff at the store can be reached at 972-775-5316.