Women-owned businesses thrive in Carmel City Center

CIC DOUGH 1020 CC Women
Owner Melissa Farmer pauses inside her Bath Junkie store. (Submitted photo)

The women of Carmel City Center mean business. Of the 41 businesses in the center, 26 are owned by females.

“As women, there are a lot of different barriers, so having such a high amount of women business owners is something we are excited about,” said Jimia Smith, City Center vice president and marketing director. “It’s something we like to promote. We like people to know we have so many smart women business owners here.”

The businesses range from hair salons to bath and body care to yoga cycle to restaurants.

“It’s a pretty diverse collection of businesses,” Smith said. “We have a pretty good range of a lot of different things you could do in one day. You could go to the spa. You could buy bath and body care. You could go to a clothing store. You could do a full day of activities in one day here.”

Smith said City Center has wanted to attract independent businesses since it opened its retail portion in the summer of 2011.

“As we’ve done that, we’ve had a large amount of women business owners in doing so,” Smith said.

Owner Melissa Farmer opened Bath Junkie in August 2012. Her retail business makes all of its bath and body products.

Farmer said there is a good connection between the businesses, some of which have been there a long time, and others that are new.

“It’s a nice neighborhood feeling,” Farmer said. “We all get to know each other pretty well. We’re all small businesses and we’re all hands-on in our businesses, so it’s nice to have people to bounce ideas off of and work together. It’s a nice feel.”

United Fidelity Bank office manager Melissa Volz-Smith and Jimia Smith organize women’s networking group meetings called Breakfast Chats, usually each month. The chats have been on Zoom during the pandemic.

“We typically have a speaker giving business-related tips on various topics,” Smith said. “Recently, we’ve also invited our male owners, too, because the topics are so great.”

Rebeca Hanson opened 14 Districts Weekend as a pop-up concept seven years ago, growing from a 500-square-foot shop to a 1,200-square-foot, award-winning boutique featuring collections from around the globe.

Hanson is in the unique position to live and own a business in Carmel City Center.

“The Center has provided exceptional opportunities for women business owners to collaborate and develop timely, strategic and effective marketing programs aimed at growing awareness of our collective businesses, highlighting the many unique offerings of our individual businesses and, when appropriate, promoting a team approach to problem-solving during challenging times,” Hanson said. “The COVID pandemic has had, and continues to have, a devastating impact on businesses large and small. Notable is the fact that not one business at Carmel City Center has had to close its doors.”

Learn more at carmelcitycenter.com.