Young business owner makes presence in downtown Ganado
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Feb. 17, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 16, 2011 at 8:17 p.m.
GANADO - It's not easy being young business owners, but Amanda Mamerow and her husband, Tim Mamerow, are doing it well.
This month, the Mamerows are celebrating the inaugural anniversary of their Ganado-based store, The Sweetheart Boutique, a retail venture specializing in niche gift, toy and apparel items. In their first year as entrepreneurs, the Mamerows' store has established a loyal regional clientele and even managed to earn a healthy profit.
"Business is good," Amanda Mamerow said, smiling. "I went into this knowing if I could make it through my first year, I'd be good to go."
Mamerow, a University of Houston-Victoria graduate with a bachelors of arts degree in leadership and enterprise studies, said she knew at a young age she wanted to be an entrepreneur, but wasn't quite sure where to begin. With her husband traveling frequently, she knew the brunt of the ownership and operation responsibilities would fall on her shoulders.
"I knew I wanted to own my own business, but I didn't think it would come so quickly," Mamerow said, describing their decision to purchase the business when she was 23 years old. "A lot of it was a drive I had. I researched for hours and hours. No one can tell you how to do it, you have to have the drive and find your own resources."
After wandering into a boutique gift store on Laurent Street in Victoria several years ago, Mamerow had a vision that she, too, wanted to own a similar type of store.
"I went in and looked around at what they had, and that was the day I said, 'I want to do this,'" she said.
A Ganado native, Mamerow knew the gift boutique Berry Special, on the main strip in downtown Ganado, was seeking a buyer.
"It took several visits to the store before the owner realized I was serious about buying it from her," Mamerow recalled.
After negotiating a fair price, the couple purchased Berry Special on Jan. 9, 2010 and officially opened for business on Feb. 1 that same year.
"I gave myself very strict rules and set goals for the next year," she said.
Mamerow said she named the store The Sweetheart Boutique because no matter who your sweetheart is, you'll be able to find them a gift at her store.
"My day is filled with joy because almost every day, someone comes in and tells me 'thank you,'" she said. "The town seems to be very accepting of the new product lines I've brought in here."
But her job isn't without tension, especially when she has to work harder to be taken seriously among clients and product vendors.
"Not many people take me seriously, but not many people take a 24-year-old seriously anyway," Mamerow said. "Customers treat me with great respect, but people come in here all the time and ask for the owner, and you should see their face when they realize it's me. People see me as a 24-year-old, not a business owner."
That's why Mamerow said she prefers online transactions, so customers and vendors can't discriminate.
"It takes a lot for young people to do something like this," she said, describing her long hours and six-day workweek.
"I work every holiday, and I'm here early in the morning and late at night."
Not easily discouraged and impassioned to become a successful business woman, Mamerow said she intends to continue growing the store, and perhaps even make The Sweetheart Boutique a chain in the future. But, she admitted she's a true hometown girl. She said she and her husband will likely never leave Ganado.
"I was born here, raised here, and we plan on spending the rest of our lives here."