Bon Bon Belle Bridal Boutique
BURLINGTON, WI – The term “business expansion” can imply a variety of elements, from increasing profitability, to hiring new staff, to diversifying products, or literally expanding the square-footage of a brick-and-mortar location.
For Wendy Lynch’s Bon Bon Belle Bridal Boutique in downtown Burlington, the term “business expansion” includes all the above.
In 2018, Lynch received funds through the Racine County Matching Grant Program (MGP). There are several ways to qualify for the Racine County MGP. Lynch’s criteria met the following: woman-owned, for-profit, located in Racine County, less than 200 employees, and a gross annual revenue amount of less than $25 million.
“The benefits have been absolutely amazing,” said Lynch, referring to the MGP. “We expanded our store, increased square footage by 50%, hired additional staff, and have been able to grow and increase our profitability at a time when a few of our competitors closed their doors or reported decreases.”
With experience in service architecture, retail management and buying, and five year’s worth of continued growth since becoming owner of Bon Bon Belle, Lynch’s encouraging vision for the store and for downtown Burlington directly aligned with that of Racine County and RCEDC (Racine County Economic Development Corporation).
“One of the goals of the [MGP] is to provide a means for small and medium sized businesses to obtain professional services necessary to establish a strong foundation for continued business growth,” said RCEDC Executive Director, Jenny Trick. “Not only has Bon Bon Belle provided more jobs to local citizens, but by identifying training opportunities and healthy growth strategies, Wendy positioned the organization for greater future community contribution.”
Wendy said the funds were used to identify and implement a marketing structure that would help expand their customer reach. She also said they used a portion of the funds “to attend business conferences to learn skills to take our business to the next level.”
While RCEDC helps recruit qualified businesses to fulfill the mission of the Racine County MGP, the funds are facilitated and maintained by RCEDC’s financial division, Business Lending Partners (BLP).
In 2018, a total of 24 Racine County businesses participated in the MGP and over $60 thousand was awarded. According to a BLP report, 24 jobs were directly created through the Racine County MGP, and more are expected to be reported by December 2019.
For those business owners looking to explore options for growth and development, Wendy recommends starting with research and then investing.
“The saying is true – often you must spend money to make money,” said Lynch. “With RCEDC’s help, the dollars you commit can not only serve you well by increasing your throughput, customer reach, etc., but also offset those investments by providing funds via their grant program. It’s a wonderful program that has been absolutely amazing for us.”