“We have shipped thousands of items since the pandemic started to over 30 states and some islands,” says Zontaye Richardson, owner of TheZe DealZ - A Thrifty Boutique. (Photo courtesy of TheZe DealZ website)
Dayton entrepreneur credits customers, friends, family, fellow business owners, and her faith community for helping her stay afloat during COVID.
(Editor’s note: Today’s Business Owner Spotlight was curated from a response to our COVID Can’t Stop Us small business questionnaire. If you are a woman, veteran or BIPOC business owner in Dayton and would like to share your insights and experiences, we would love to hear from you.)
Zontaye Richardson has aspirations to make her business more efficient coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. She told Elevate Dayton how she has shifted her business model and the support she has received over the past two years.
Richardson owns TheZe DealZ - A Thrifty Boutique, a store that sells clothing, offers retail space for small business owners to showcase their products, and serves as a gathering place for the West Dayton community. During the pandemic, she added online selling and conducted sales via Facebook Live. One positive from the pandemic, Richardson said, was her ability to shift her mindset from being a local to a national business.
“We have shipped thousands of items since the pandemic started to over 30 states and some islands,” she said.
Richardson said she received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP loan) that helped her business stay afloat when she had to close the store due to state mandates and when business was slow. She also credited the support of friends, family, fellow business owners, customers, and her faith community. Richardson added that small businesses like hers could have been better supported if banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) had offered more resource seminars during the pandemic.
Looking back over the past two years, she’s grateful to still be standing in light of so many businesses closing down. As for the future, Richardson said she wants to partner with other fashion influencers in Dayton, hire a marketing or social media staff and delegate more administrative tasks to current employees.
“I want to develop systems and processes to become more strategic in business so I can free up time for other projects,” she added.