Bow Market celebrated its first birthday in May, and it’s hard to believe that two years ago it was an empty storage building. When Bow business owners first got their keys, they faced the same challenge we did as the owners and architects: take a raw space and fill it with life. Fill it with food, with friends, with art. Create a tiny (165 sq. ft.) world and invite the community in.
Inviting the wider world in is what HubWeek: Open Doors was all about, and when we began brainstorming about Bow Market’s participation we knew sharing the realities of Bow’s small businesses would be the focus. Contrary to the start-up, capital infusion, unicorn, exit narrative, Bow is a place where people with passion, gumption, conviction, business acumen, and some dollars (average opening investment: $15k) can successfully live their values and build a business, every day. To highlight the diversity in experiences, we asked a handful of our food, art, and retail owners to share their stories of starting up, changing course, and defining success for themselves.
Rick Jenkins of the Comedy Studio, a now-Camberville institution for over 20 years, offered his advice for public speaking: on stage or in the boardroom, treat people like family and talk to them like friends. Lauren Friel, Matt Boyes-Watson, Renata Goncalves, James Choi, and Jen Palacio joined forced on the Non-Traditional Paths to Entrepreneurship panel, commenting on the importance of relentless hospitality, moms, social media, leadership, and redefining failure.
After the speaking portion of the day, Bow’s outdoor space got its time in the sun. The beautiful public courtyard (open every day 7a-12a) filled with people, ideas, and conversation. Remnant Brewing and Las Carolinas fed and served everyone, while some participated in Speed Mentoring and others made new friends and hatched new plans.
We’re thankful to HubWeek for creating a program that highlights different approaches to entrepreneurship and encourages the cross-pollination of ideas. Events like these make our cities feel small—in a good way—and remind us that our potential together is limitless.
Nina Berg heads up community engagement and communications for Bow Market.