Tarsha Joyner, Founder of Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats, accepting Community Business Launch grant for $7,500 at the 2016 Lynchburg Innovation Week.
This summer, Tarsha Joyner, the winner of the Food Network's 2015 Christmas Cookie Challenge will be opening a new storefront downtown. Joyner recently completed the CO.STARTERS entrepreneurial training program in Lynchburg, and was awarded a $7,500 Community Business Launch grant to invest in the new downtown business.
"We've been selling our treats in the Community Market since 2012, and we're so excited to open our shop right around the corner," said Tarsha Joyner, Founder of Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats. "We're going to offer downtown Lynchburg a new place to enjoy breakfast and bakery treats."
As the construction team wraps up redevelopment work on the Commerce St. storefront space, Joyner plans to use the CBL grant money to purchase new equipment, including a brand new fridge and sink. The storefront will include a café-style seating area, bakery counter, bar seating area, and a cozy seating area in the back room with a big screen TV. Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats store will also feature a terrace with outdoor seating overlooking the bluffwalk and James River.
LOVE cookie, made by Tarsha Joyner for Lynchburg Innovation Week.
Joyner completed the nine-week CO.STARTERS training in April, 2016 and pitched her business during Lynchburg Innovation Week. Here are some of her big takeaways from the program and what it's like to do business in Lynchburg, Virginia.
What was the most helpful takeaway from CO.STARTERS?
"For me, the most valuable thing that I took away from CO.STARTERS was learning from people who have done this before. We learned from an accountant and were also visited by small business owners in the area. It's nice to have real life examples when you're a new entrepreneur."
"My husband grew up here. It is one of the nicest places I have ever lived. We raised our kids here and showed them what is great about Lynchburg. It's a great place to raise a family. We absolutely love the trails and I love downtown."
Why did you choose downtown Lynchburg?
"The store on Commerce is the perfect location for our business. We've been waiting for the space for over 2 years. Many of our clients are in the downtown, Rivermont and Boonsboro areas, so it made sense to be close to them. Plus, it's not far from the market, which is where many of our customers met us, and downtown Lynchburg is a place that is central to the arts and community. There's no better place to be but downtown - it's at the edge of a big boom. It's about to get big, and I want to be apart of it."
Joyner's advice for entrepreneurs: Make the most of local resources!
"I would say, if you have the opportunity to do CO.STARTERS, do it! It will help you think about things that you wouldn't typically consider when you're starting a business for the first time. There are also lots of organizations here that are helpful. The Small Business Development Center at CVCC is great - we've been going to them for a year and I continue to rely on them for advice. SCORE is another helpful local resource for entrepreneurs. I haven't worked with the Lynchburg EDA a lot yet, but I plan to get more involved with them and Lynch's Landing now that I'm opening a space downtown."
Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats expects to open its doors at the corner of Commerce St. and 10th St. downtown later this summer.