Arts and Entertainment

Opening up shop in an economic recession

Real Estate agent turned boutique owner Hanah Reed of The RockIt Roost, now open in Silverdale.  - Courtesy Photo/Jon Broshears
Real Estate agent turned boutique owner Hanah Reed of The RockIt Roost, now open in Silverdale.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Jon Broshears

As a new retro retail boutique opens its doors, What's Up ponders the necessity of shopping local.

The economy has a funny effect on people. It’s something of a strangle hold.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 600 points on Monday when it was officially declared that the country was in a recession, and had been for at least a year. Three days earlier on the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, Hanah Reed opened the doors to her new pin-up/tattoo culture clothing and accessories store, “a retro boutique with sass” called The RockIt Roost.

“People are always telling me they can’t believe we’re starting a business in this economic crisis,” Reed said, talking with What’s Up by phone the week before the store’s opening.

“But it’s like the media, you know, it kind of puts people in a negative mindset when they are thinking about it all the time,” she went on, noting that perhaps it’s not as bad as it’s perceived. Perhaps there’s even opportunity and advantage for investors in an economic crisis.

It’s a logical thought, scary, but logical nonetheless. The buy low, sell high mentality.

However, in times like these, with investment banks and mortgage firms dropping like flies, investing in just about anything can seem like a risky proposition.

But Reed knows a thing or two about risk. She’s faced it before.

Less than a decade ago, she was a single mother of two, attending massage school in Las Vegas. She came to the Northwest and found her way to the commission-based real estate market after exhausting other options for work.

She was timid at first to jump in, she said, as there was no job security, no guarantee of a paycheck in real estate. But she remembers asking her dad for advice on the matter.

“And he said, ‘Hanah, do you have anything else going on right now?’” she recalled. “And I said, well no. ‘Then put some paint on that wall and make it happen for yourself.”

And she did. She paved her own way into the mortgage market where she met her fiancé and forged the beginnings of a small career. Then came the mortgage crisis of 2008 and the reveal of the unscrupulous doings of a few big corporations which led to the current economic crisis and consequently spurred Reed away from real estate and into starting her own business.

“I started to feel like it was unfair how the government was buying these corporations out, but yet here were these people without jobs and they didn’t care to help to them,” she said.

So she and her fiancé all but abandoned the corporate market to work for their own mortgage company, while Reed focused on building a retail business where she could bring together all of her favorite things —from fashion to pin-up art to rockabilly — which became the RockIt Roost.

At first it was going to be only an online store. She locked herself away in her real estate office to create a Web site for the Roost, which frustrated her to the point of drawing up a business plan and showing it to investors.

“Three weeks later, I had an answer,” she said. “And from the time they said yes, I’ve poured my heart and soul into this shop.”

With that kind of ambition, it’s not surprising that Reed has opened her shop amidst an economic crisis. What might be, is how big a role intrepid investors and entrepreneurs like her may play in saving the country’s economy. After all, before there were big box department stores and massive shopping malls, there were little community boutiques —with sass.

The RockIt Roost is located in the business park at the intersection of Myhre Road and Silverdale Way in Silverdale, and online at www.therockitroost.com.

NOTES ON SHOPPING LOCAL FOR THE HOLIDAYS

While you may not find everything on your holiday shopping list locally, there’s a host of options and opportunities to support local businesses when shopping for Christmas gifts. In this case, it really is the thought that counts. Here are a just a few:

• LOCAL BOOKSELLERS: Books are pretty much the easiest gift to buy with volumes of subject matter to choose from. Why not choose to buy local from Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge or Liberty Bay in Poulsbo

• HOLIDAY FAIRS: There are scores of these across the county in the coming weeks, see the Holiday Faire section of our What’s Going On calendar and shop local for the arts and crafts knick-knack collector on your list.

• LOCAL WINE SHOPS AND BREWERIES: Pay a visit to your local winery or wine shop, like Olympic Wine Shop in Poulsbo or Grape Expectations in Silverdale for the wine lover on your list.

• LOCAL TATTOO SHOPS: Drop by one of the many Kitsap local tattoo shops for a gift certificate the ink lover on your list can redeem at their leisure.

• LOCAL PLANT NURSERIES: For the green thumb on your list.

• FARMERS MARKETS: The winter market on Bainbridge is open through Dec. 20.

• LOCAL BAKERIES: Everyone loves sweet treats for the holidays, check out Liberty Bay Bakery or Sluys in Poulsbo, Monica's in Silverdale, Pat's or Luigi's Bakeries in Bremerton.

• LOCAL MERCHANTS: Support local independent merchants like the RockIt Roost for unique gifts and, in theory, a stronger local economy.

Got ideas for shopping local for the Holidays? Add them to the story in the comments below...

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