The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, in partnership with the Retail Alliance of Hampton Roads, has developed a regional Retail Academy to help small businesses. The next 12-week course will be held Wednesdays from 8:00-10:00am from June 12 to August 28 in the TowneBank building, 200 High Street, Suite 203, Portsmouth.
The program consists of classroom courses, one-on-one counseling and three peer-to-peer meetings designed to provide information across the entire spectrum of the retail experience as well as general business management. Courses, instructed by experts who are current or former business owners, will cover topics such as business practices, store displays, inventory management, and theft prevention. Ben Salomonsky, a Business Analyst, serves as director of the Hampton Roads Retail Academy.
The first 12-week course was held March-May with 12 small business owners and three entrepreneurs participating. One of those enrolled was Lynette Burrier, owner of Country Flowers & Gifts in Virginia Beach, who has been in business for 19 years. “After the first class, I was hooked,” Burrier said. “It was informative and interactive.” Burrier learned a great deal during the course from not only the instructors, but from the other participating business owners, especially during the peer-to-peer breakfasts. She is an expert on flowers and design, but said, “I wanted to learn more about the business end.” Burrier would recommend the course to other small business owners.
In the fall of 2012, the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads (SBDC) was the recipient of one of six nationally awarded Portable Assistance Grants by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Portable Assistance Grant Program is designed to assist organizations in developing products or programs that can be replicated in other areas of the country. The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, in partnership with the Retail Alliance of Hampton Roads, is using the $100,000 grant from September 2012-September 2013 to develop this regional Retail Academy.
“With fiscal uncertainty facing this region, we want to take proactive steps to better prepare the retail community,” said Jim Carroll, executive director of the Small Business Development Center of the Hampton Roads and vice president of small business for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. “By partnering with the Retail Alliance we have access to a wide range of information and experts who are key to making this program a reality,” he added.
The fee for this course is $60. For more information or to register, visit www.hrsbdc.org or contact Ben Salomonsky at 757-353-8866.