Catherine Carter turned the page on a new career when she started a book club to help coworkers deal with the pandemic. Now, with help from the Longwood SBDC and Danville’s Dream Launch program, she has her own bookstore, The Dog-Eared Page.
It started with a dream to open a place for book clubs to meet and buy books. When Catherine learned about Danville’s Dream Launch program, it seemed like fate.
“I contacted Kelvin Perry, Danville’s project manager for economic development, and he encouraged me to apply,” Catherine relates.
The Dream Launch program, sponsored by Danville’s River District Association, features a six-week bootcamp and grant money presented to winners of a business pitch competition.
“Lin Hite, Kelvin Perry and Michael Duncan from the SBDC all taught classes,” Catherine explains. “Lin, my mentor, helped me with a business plan and pitch for the competition. Throughout the whole experience I felt nothing but support.”
That preparation paid off. The pitch Catherine presented was awarded a $25,000 grant that enabled her to launch her dream.
“Danville hadn’t had a bookstore since I was in elementary school,” she relates.
The bookstore’s location on Main Street in Danville’s downtown revitalization district was also a plus for Catherine.
“It’s awesome to be part of what’s happening downtown,” she adds. “It’s rewarding to see people coming back downtown.”
In addition to the grant, Catherine received a loan from a local bank.
“The River District decided I needed more capital and connected me with American National Bank,” she says. “I didn’t expect to get support from bankers!”
Catherine continues to be amazed by support from the community.
“During our grand opening the store was packed,” Catherine recalls. “It’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Now open six months, The Dog-Eared Page is thankful for continued SBDC support.
“SBDC consultants still call and come by,” Catherine explains. “When I first opened, Lin Hite prepared me for lower volume months ahead. Due to that advice the shop isn’t struggling now.”
Catherine readily recommends the SBDC.
“Even after the doors of a business are open, the SBDC is there to help you,” she concludes. “I’m eternally grateful for that support.”