HDP Helps Businesses Become Part of the Community
Mindy Simmons knew it was time for change when she had four employees working almost twenty-four hours a day seven days a week – from the front of her house. For years, she had wanted to own her own bakery. When she was five, she would wake up early and cook breakfast for her parents and make a mess of the kitchen. She just loved to see people enjoy the food she made for them. Around 2010, Mindy started selling her cakes, brownies, and cookies at farmers markets and slowly grew her business. Yet – it was clear her home was no longer the place for her to bake. So, Mindy began a search for her first brick and mortar bakery.
When Mindy was at farmers’ markets, she would hear from Karla Antonini, a City of Hillsboro employee and liaison of the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership, who had been inviting Mindy to check out Downtown. The Hillsboro Downtown Partnership had surveyed residents about what they wanted in their neighborhood, and a bakery was one of the top priorities. Mindy wanted to fill a void. She wanted to be in a community that needed her and she wanted her daughter to grow up in a neighborhood where they could walk around and people would know them.
She started investigating Downtown Hillsboro and one day drove past a building for sale. It was a historic building right in Downtown, but it was huge! It was way too big for just a bakery, but Mindy saw an opportunity. She worked with an investor to develop the property while keeping its historic feel. Mindy now had a space for her bakery – but it came with a hitch. She would have to find tenants to lease the rest of the property, or have to pay their rent herself.
Mindy reached out to the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership, and their Director, Saira, who immediately started making connections. Saira introduced Mindy to a yarn shop that moved in next to her bakery, Black Sheep Yarn Shop. Another board member of Hillsboro Downtown Partnership connected Mindy to a wine shop that also moved in, D’Anu Tasting Room & Wine Bar. Friends from the farmers market helped Mindy meet other potential tenants. Within months, Mindy had leased her entire space, all without any advertising. Mindy never even had to get a sign to put in front of the building.
Now Mindy’s bakery, Decadent Creations, is in a bustling building in a vibrant neighborhood Downtown. Mindy has even created a commissary kitchen to provide an opportunity for other new entrepreneurs to start their local artisan food businesses. Mindy loves being a part of the Hillsboro community and growing with the families around her. She knows couples for whom she made their engagement cake, and their wedding cake, and then when they got pregnant their baby shower cake. Or families whose kids’ cakes she makes every year and gets to see which new cartoon character they are currently into. Mindy feels like she has a community of people whom she connects with, and a community in which she is excited to be raising her daughter.
Throughout Oregon, Main Street communities like Hillsboro Downtown Partnership are finding ways to support their community’s small business owners and create inviting and dynamic public spaces. Hillsboro Downtown Partnership can help your business find the perfect home and connect with the customers and other business you need to succeed. Mindy says the organization and its supporters are like a neighbor you can rely on when you run out of flour. Come and check out our growing Downtown and give us a call if you’re ready to become part of the Downtown Hillsboro community.