Story’s on the Square
June 8th, 2015 by Gwen Green
A 38-year-old local business gave itself a new start last year.
Lynn Story opened Story’s Sport Shop in Magnolia in 1977. Last August, the retailer moved downtown to the square. To reflect their new location, the couple renamed the business Story’s on the Square.
“We love being on the square. It’s the best thing we ever did,” said co-owner Lori Story. “We have seen a significant increase in traffic to our store and are busier than ever before.”
The Storys worked extensively with Megan Whitehead of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Southern Arkansas University on the project. She helped the couple with gathering financial data, analyzing cash flow, and applying for funding. They were able to secure financing through Farmers Bank & Trust and obtain a Federal Home Loan Bank EDP Plus grant.
The couple had previously worked with the SAU center’s Julia Nipper on marketing their business. So in early 2014, when they began to think about relocating, the Story’s again contacted the SAU ASBTDC.
“We loved working with the ladies at the ASBTDC. They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to small business,” said Lori Story. “I learned so much about business operations from Megan and Julia and would recommend the ASBTDC to anyone thinking about starting a new business.”
The Storys used their loan and grant proceeds to purchase the building downtown along with additional inventory. They also added two employees.
The move to the square was part of the business’ continuing evolution. When Story’s first opened, the shop primarily sold sporting goods and trophies, but as bigger chain stores moved into the region, Lynn Story changed the direction of the business. While continuing to offer trophies and engraving, Story’s on the Square specializes in custom embroidery and gifts.