BOZEMAN, Mont. — “This is our mid-range cabinet line that we use…” explained Kristie Eagle McPhie on a tour of her shop, McPhie Cabinetry.
Talking business and explaining her cabinets is what McPhie had on the agenda for Wednesday- but this wasn’t for prospective customers.
This was to empower women and inspire them within their own businesses.
“Make sure you’re passionate about it, that you really love it, that you really want to do it” she said, giving advice on the tour.
Getting a glimpse behind companies such as McPhie cabinetry was part of the Downtown Women-Owned Business Tour, hosted by Prospera’s Montana Women’s Business Center and the Downtown Bozeman Association.
“An opportunity to tell their story” said tour organizer with Prospera Amand Schultz. “Provide them with best business practices, and also business challenges that they have as women entrepreneurs.”
Owners relayed those challenges they faced in creating a successful business, especially with being a woman.
“When I first started out in this business” said McPhie, “I was going on job sites and in the construction world there weren’t very many women, and so I would go on a job site to measure and I remember feeling very much out of place”
Coming from an era where women and men were on different levels in her industry, McPhie has seen the positive change. “It’s a lot more accepting of women now” she said.
Now, she said, she faces the challenge of economic downturn. “It’s a little slower, and so we’ve brought in some other businesses to share our building.”
“What I did come to realize is- I didn’t lose my business, I just lost my location” said Sheryll Sanders, on the second stop of the tour.
Across the street from McPhie Cabinetry, tour participants shuffled into LillyLu, where Sanders talked of how she re-built her store after the downtown explosion destroyed everything she had.
“We had insurance- we didn’t have quite enough, but we had enough to re-open and to get started” said Sanders, adding “thanks to my amazing staff- their dedication and an enormous amount of community support.”
Talking from experience and giving advice inspired the entrepreneurs for their own ventures.
“What I’ll take away- with a lot of creativity” said participant Pam Shontz “and tenacity- you can basically do anything you want. And I enjoy that. I think that’s nice to see so much good spirit around here.”
In addition to hearing from the owners of McPhie Cabinetry and LillyLu, the women also went to Mint Dental Studio.
The Prospera Montana Women’s Business Center and Downtown Bozeman Association have been hosting the Women-Owned Business Tour since 2009, and will schedule more in the future. For more information, you can log on to the WBC’s website by clicking here.