This recession has caused many businesses to shut their doors. But there are those small business success stories that give us hope. A cupcake shop and a hardware store are two Wilmington businesses that are actually expanding rather than closing.
With business backgrounds and very little cooking experience, Kristen Beckmeyer and her best friend started Coastal Cupcakes during the recession. A year later, they expanded to Wrightsville Beach.
From cupcakes to Kwiksets, Wilmington's oldest hardware store opened a third location near Ogden over the weekend. The closing of two lawn and garden stores created demand for another location for Stevens Hardware. In five days, the family-operated shop is already packed. So what's the secret to success?
"If it's something that you want to do and you believe in it, you could do it," Stevens Hardware owner Andy Stevens said. "It's all in how you approach it. And what you put into it is what you get out of it."
"Get creative," Beckmeyer said. "You have to think outside the box. It's a totally different time now, where you can't just do business as usual."
Beckmeyer says Coastal Cupcakes sells about 300 cupcakes a day this time of year, because a lot of people are trying to stick to their New Year's diet. When the summer rolls around, cupcake sales will quadruple.
The owners of Stevens Hardware actually have plans to open a fourth store in a year or two, though Andy Stevens won't say where.