West Columbia Female Artist and Business Owner
Lives out Her Passion as a Stained Glass Maker
After 18 years of making stained glass art, mosaic art, and fused glass items, Pat Stone decided to take the plunge and open her own business, Glassie Ladies, LLC. Stone was presented with an opportunity to buy a business that made and sold stained glass products. She received a loan from Wells Fargo Bank to assist with buying the firm. Glassie Ladies officially opened 2015. Stone was able to take advantage of the opportunity and has been in business for 3 years now.
The shop provides glass, supplies, and lessons for customers searching for stained glass, mosaic glass, and fused glass art pieces. The goal is to be a supplier of a total package for stained glass, mosaic glass, and fused glass projects from design through completion. Teaching all three forms of glass art is also a very important part of Glassie Ladies.
Before opening the business, Stone sought out the help of the Columbia Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“The counseling the SBDC provided, compelled me to check the competition, research the market, and write a business plan. I met with the business counselor 7-8 times during the first month. Later, I met with a SBDC counselor at least once a week for many months,” said Stone. “Even after 3 years, I call on my counselor occasionally for assistance.”
Since Glassie Ladies’ beginning, it has continuously sought the advice of the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). SBDCs provide a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By supporting business growth, sustainability, and enhancing the creation of new business entities, SBDCs foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. As a result of the no-cost, extensive, one-on-one, long-term professional business advice, low-cost training and other specialized services SBDC clients receive, the program remains one of the nation’s largest small business assistance programs in the federal government.
Glassie Ladies only employs the owner, but has two passionate volunteers, who work part-time a dedicated number of hours weekly. “We are all volunteers and I do not pay myself. We are just very passionate about stained glass,” said Stone.
“Running a business comes with a lot of challenges,” said Stone. “Learning QuickBooks, finding a good CPA, and revamping the store were a few of the challenges that we have had to overcome. I have utilized a myriad of marketing strategies and the SBDC has been a big help in that endeavor. I am happy where the business is currently regarding sales and am consistently surprised when large commissions become a part of our designing and producing agendas. Becoming more organized with using the QuickBooks is also a viable goal,” said Stone.
Stone thinks the business has had a positive impact on the community. “There are only two stained glass stores in Columbia. Customers are happy that the business is located here in West Columbia. The most rewarding part of owning this business and serving customers is watching students grow and become creative artists extraordinaire!” said Stone.
Stone had some advice for anyone thinking of starting a business. “If you want to start a business, you should contact the Small Business Administration first; do your homework, listen to your business adviser, and definitely do your research,” said Stone.
Pat Formo Stone, Owner
Glassie Ladies, LLC
738 Meeting Street
West Columbia, SC 29169