LAURINBURG — Shalonda Taylor, owner of the Scoop N Dip ice cream shop, is seeing early success in her business thanks in part to advice she received from free one-on-one counseling and free workshops offered through Richmond Community College’s Small Business Center.
“Taking advantage of the services offered through the Small Business Center definitely helped prepare me for opening my own business,” said Taylor, who opened the Scoop N Dip in Laurinburg March 21.
“And although unforeseen challenges have arisen since the shop opened, I feel I was prepared to handle them because of my training,” she added.
A native of New Jersey, Taylor moved to Laurinburg in 2008 to be closer to her family. She found employment at a local convenience store, but her dream was to operate a business of her own.
“I wanted to do something for myself,” said Taylor, who added she chose to enter the ice cream business because Laurinburg didn’t have a local parlor.
“I used to travel a lot just to get a scoop of ice cream. So I decided we needed a place of our own here,” Taylor said.
Rather than rushing into the business unprepared, Taylor reached out to RCC’s Small Business Center Director Deborah Hardison for counseling services.
“I knew there was a lot I needed to learn about running my own business, so I started meeting with Mrs. Hardison and attending the free workshops offered by the Small Business Center,” Taylor said. “I found her guidance and the things learned during those free seminars to be incredibly helpful.”
Hardison described Taylor as the epitome of a Small Business Center client who is willing to combine hard work and dedication with the knowledge and training provided by the business center.
“Shalonda owned her business in her mind before the shop ever opened,” said Hardison. “She attended our workshops, and we worked hand-in-hand in completing an entire business plan for her before she ever opened her doors.”
Hardison said individuals who rush into business without a plan are setting themselves up for failure, but she added the Small Business Center has programs in place to assist start-ups and existing businesses in creating or revamping their operating plans.
“Our goal is to ensure small business owners have a strong plan to follow,” Hardison said. “Then it’s up to them to take action and implement the plan.”
Taylor said she would encourage anyone interested in opening his or her own business to start by contacting the Small Business Center and taking advantage of its free counseling and seminars. She also encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to never give up on their dreams.
“If you have faith bigger than a mustard seed, you can move anything that gets in your way,” Taylor said.
Scoop-N-Dip is located at 1025 S. Main St. across from the Johns Road traffic light in Laurinburg. The shop is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1-8 p.m. on Sundays.
The shop offers 24 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, including four reduced-fat and frozen yogurt varieties, available in a bowl or a cone. The ice cream parlor can craft a sundae, milkshake or banana split to order.
For more information about RCC’s Small Business Center, contact Hardison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-410-1687.