America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
319 Decor and Design, Grundy Center
Katie Lewis always knew she wanted to be an interior designer on her own. She went to college for interior design, but she never expected to have opened her own business in 2017. In her own words, “I just went for it.” In 2017, when 319 Décor and Design opened, Katie was freshly 22 and just out of college. She was young, yet she was passionate about what she wanted to do. So, she jumped in and started her business.
Being involved and giving back to the community is something Katie is very passionate about. She is very involved in the main street chamber and helps plan all of the downtown events in Grundy Center. Katie has been involved in the main street chamber for four years, first starting as the design chair. She does design every day; she wanted to switch it up and is now the organization chair.
Grundy Center is a small town of about 2700 people. Katie says her business has had an impact on the city. The potential impact never even crossed her mind when planning to open or when opening. Katie never considered what she could be doing for the town or what she could be bringing to Grundy Center by opening 319 Décor and Design. Other businesses want to be in the area just because 319 Décor and Design is there. Katie often hears shock from people when they find out she is doing her job from a small town. Grundy Center has been a wonderful place for Katie to grow her small business. She has been able to expand both in sales and square footage since starting back in 2017.
2020 was a challenging year for many small businesses. Luckily for Katie, COVID-19 did not pose too terrible of a conflict for her business. 319 Décor and Design only had to shut down for a little while. The pandemic helped push Katie to grow more; it made her do things that she needed to do. The team and 319 Décor and Design got creative with marketing, curbside pickup, and online sales. The pandemic helped push Katie to be a better business owner. She was able to keep everyone on staff, and orders still rolled in every single day.
To someone looking to start a small business, Katie has some simple advice: you should be seriously passionate about what you are doing, and finding good mentors that believe in you and can help you achieve your goal is essential. “Working with SBDC has honestly made my business what it is today,” Katie said. “Without their assistance, I would not have had the success that I do now. They helped me get my ducks in a row, so I was not just jumping straight headfirst off of a cliff.”