Jamie Harter says she got a lot of local help starting her new small business, and now she wants to do the same for other local entrepreneurs.
So customers of her new Bizzy Diva will find lots of local lines mixed in with national designers. But they will find it hard to tell the difference without looking at the labels.
There’s the Prairie Village-based Notes to Self, a high-quality athletic socks brand with affirming statements written across the toe and bottom of the sock — “I am confident’ or “I am perfectly me.” Then there’s Momo Bands, a Lee’s Summit-based headbands line. Also on Bizzy Diva’s shelves: lip gloss with a LED light and mirror, owl-shaped purses, green and black polka dot sunglasses, a wall mirror with a houndstooth print border, jeweled watches, caps with bejeweled sunflowers, and pet carriers.
The shop also features shirts, jerseys and caps with mascots for several Johnson County high school teams, and it designs and sells personalized balloon bouquets.
Bizzy Diva is scheduled to open Friday at 7932 Santa Fe Drive.
Harter has kept her part-time position as “customer loyalty executive” at Assurant Employee Benefits where she works with — and has been inspired by — small business owners. Two years ago, she took a one-session course, “Starting a Business: Success Right from the Start,” at Johnson County Community College that mostly focuses on writing a business plan. Afterward, she worked closely with Elisa Waldman, a consultant for the Kansas Small Business Development Center, located at the college.
“I spent countless hours with her but the big stumbling point was the right location,” Harter said.
Harter attended a customer service conference at Zappos.com, a top online shoe retailer, where she was stirred by the company’s entrepreneurial story. She ramped up her search for a retail spot, and came up with a prime location in downtown Overland Park, right across from the farmers market. It was an office space that rented to tenants on a month-to-month basis. Once the landlord saw her business plan, he agreed to convert the space to retail.
Waldman said many prospective entreprenurs don’t realize that it is not just the banker who is interested in the business plan. They also often get into small business because they are passionate about what they are going to do — baking, sewing, fashion — but the operations side is a completely different discipline.
“Jamie is an outstanding example of someone who did her research and homework before opening, which is a primary indicator of future success. So many of the obstacles are eliminated.”
Harter has kept her day job at Assurant. She calls herself “chief executive diva” of Bizzy Diva, while her former secretary at Assurant, Michelle Drake, is manager or “chief operating diva” at the shop.
- National Trampoline Entertainment Centers in Chandler, Ariz., wants to open a Cosmic Jump trampoline entertainment center at 12025 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, in late September. The 25,000-square-foot center will feature trampoline recreation and include After Dark events with black lights, Dodgeball, Nerf Dart Tag Battles, and a trampoline “Slam Dunk” basketball court. The centers target ages tweens and teens but they have a special trampoline area for ages 7-and-under.
“Grownups walk in and want to jump so we say 18-months to 80,” said Amanda Stewart, chief operating officer. She said the centers tend to hire only honor students who can serve as role models.
Cosmic Jump will take the former Michaels space. The retailer relocated in Olathe several years ago.
- Crestwood Shop’s Frankly Basic plans to add a second location in Leawood. The women’s boutique is scheduled to open in the One Nineteen shopping center at 4569 W. 119th St. in September.
The locally owned Athens Grill plans to open by late August at 115 S. Clairborne Road, Olathe. Menu items will include Greek salads, chicken or beef Döner sandwiches with grilled vegetables, cured black olives, feta cheese, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce, along with pastitsio, and souvlakia sandwiches.
The Blue Moose Bar & Grill is now open at 10064 Woodland Road in Lenexa.
Lawmak “Jackie” Chan recently opened Soy Asian Cuisine in the former Fo Thai spot at 4331 W. 119th St., Leawood, and hopes to sign a permanent lease for the space. But now he has some competition. Another Asian cuisine concept also wants the spot for a second area location.