A Great Bend High School graduate who had lived out-of-state and worked for a large corporation decided it was time for a change. That change will result in a new Main Street business that will complement its downtown neighbors.
Amy Shaffer plans to open Yours Truly late this summer at 1419 Main, next door to Renue Salon and Day Spa. Shaffer will serve as general manager of the business. Donna and Ken Shaffer, her parents and life-long residents of the Great Bend area, are the owners. Donna will play an instrumental role.
“We will offer unique gifts and home décor,” Amy Shaffer said. “In addition, we will specialize in event planning and management services. We will be equipped to plan everything from a backyard barbecue to weddings to corporate meetings - and anything in between.
“My family is looking forward to this exciting adventure and to becoming partners within the community,” Shaffer added. “I have come to appreciate being in a smaller community and am eager to return to Great Bend.”
The entrepreneur was employed as a resort manager and marketing director at a resort near San Antonio, Tx., and an event logistics manager for a large corporation in Austin, Tx., before moving back to her home state. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Lutheran University and is a certified wedding planner.
Shaffer approached Great Bend’s MyTown and Prairie Enterprise Project (PEP) seeking advice about her idea. MyTown represents a group of local individuals whose goal has been to revitalize downtown; PEP provides free business coaching to develop new and expanding ventures in Barton, Edwards and Russell counties.
“MyTown and PEP have been wonderful to collaborate with,” Shaffer commented. “They have helped us every step of the way and continue to be helpful and positive.”
Sheryl Cheely, member of the MyTown Board of Directors, said Shaffer has done her homework and will breathe even more life into downtown Great Bend.
“I am impressed with Amy’s business plan,” Cheely said. “She has done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people. She will do well. And since one MyTown goal is to increase downtown foot traffic, Yours Truly will fit right in.”
MyTown owns the 1419 Main location; Mainstream Boutique is moving out but Renue Salon remains a valuable neighbor, Cheely said.
“Yours Truly and Renue will mesh very well,” she commented. “A lot of clientele at Renue can use Amy’s services and vice versa. Amy could even have small events at the spa.”
This transition can be compared to Treaders changing to Gambino’s Pizza last summer, Cheely noted. “MyTown’s goal was never to own everything downtown,” she explained. “The goal is to help develop buildings to house whatever the market dictates.”
Cheely remembers, without fondness, the downtown scene of just a few years ago. There were many empty stores and no plans in sight.
“It was so uninviting,” the board member said. “MyTown started with seven stores but we never intended to run them forever. We encourage other people to come in with new ideas.
“And it has worked well,” she added. “There are very few empty storefronts now. And there are plans for the ones that are empty. Nothing makes me feel better than driving down Main Street and seeing it full.”