Bridal Trousseaux Gets Off the Ground With Help From SCORE Mentor
Penny Timmons purchased Bridal Trousseaux as an existing business after seeking financial planning help from SCORE. The store had been open for eight years and she saw room to diversify garment selections and extend marketing to grow this specialty clothing business. SCORE helped with Penny's loan application, business plan and future financial planning.
When Penny and a friend went searching for bridal fashions, but could not find that perfect gown, Penny decided there was a target market that could use more in bridal wear selections. The quest for the perfect gown for a perfect wedding day led Penny Timmons to become the owner of a bridal and formal wear boutique in Moline, Ill. In 1997, Bridal Trousseaux increased total revenues by 12 percent.
Since we last spoke with Penny Timmons, she has graduated from college and bought a second bridal store in Moline. She reports that things at both locations are going well, although she says "like many other small businesses, I'm finding it hard to hire and keep good employees. Still, everything is great."
Since purchasing Bridal Trousseaux, Timmons has fine-tuned the company's marketing structure and traveled to Paris to conduct bridal fashion research. She is now exploring the possibility of opening a second Bridal Trousseaux store in a nearby city.
Penny says, "Dale helped me bring my ideas out of the clouds and down to earth for some realistic thought."
To help Bridal Trousseaux navigate growing pains, Penny has set up meetings with her SCORE mentors. "I want to do some long-term planning and find out what skills or education I'll need to carry it out," she says. "I've also had the opportunity to visit with some of SCORE's national directors and other chapter leaders. I think I'll always have questions about my business, but I know that SCORE will always have the answers."
With the assistance of SCORE, Penny applied for an SBA-guaranteed loan. She used the chapter's business-planning disk to prepare a complete business plan, which detailed past sales history for the business and projected future growth. SCORE Mentor Dale Hankins helped her prepare her business plan—together they reviewed cost and revenue projections to develop a realistic operating budget to support operations and staff salaries. Dale is a volunteer with the Quad Cities SCORE Chapter, the national SCORE Chapter of the Year. He helped Penny secure a $70,000 SBA-guaranteed loan and a $20,000 economic development loan from the City of Moline.