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Ryemarkable Judy Graham!

Name of Business: Pink, Home & Gifts

Length of time in business: 18 years

Number of kids and ages: 2 daughters (they are too old to tell their ages or they will get mad at me!!!) More importantly 2 grandsons (ages 10 and 7)

Pets: a "grand"dog named Gary though for years I have had dogs - generally "used" (the term I use) either rescued dogs or dogs that needed a home for some reason.

Before starting this business, what was your career? I don't think I ever had a "career" I studied journalism in college and was an instructor in journalism at Central Michigan University. Then I sold textbooks so I guess in some ways I was always involved in education.

Why did you start your business? My daughters thought I needed something to do after they left for school and I agreed. First I worked in retail, then I managed a store and finally I decided to open a store and from that one store, my daughter and I have opened I think 7 stores over the years.

What do you love most about what you do now?

How much I learn every day. It may be something I learn to do on computers or something I learn from a customer. I also love being busy and owning a store keeps me very busy.

What did you have to do to start? I tell people who want to open a store to go to school on someone else's dime. First, I worked as a sales person at a local store in Rye (Clementine's) and then I managed Blush. After a few years, I decided it was time to strike out on my own. And as much as I thought I knew, I had a whole lot to learn.

What is the thing that's surprised you most?

That I am still doing it! I started this business when I was 50 (I always referred to it as my midlife crisis) and said I would quit after 10 years. Maybe when I am 80...

A bonus is working with my daughter who owns Palmer & Purchase. She amazes me and continues to be one of my biggest supporters.

What was the biggest challenge you've faced? Probably this pandemic. Having to close the store but still expected to pay rent and other bills for months was really scary.

How are you coping? When things seem overwhelming and nearly impossible, I remind myself of the question - "how do you eat an elephant; one bite at a time." So I got a notebook and began to list exactly what I needed to do. And then you just do it one day at a time.

What is your best tip for fellow entrepreneurs?

It begins and ends with you. It consumes you. You are your own boss and the toughest boss you will ever work for. And it is the most satisfying job you will ever have.

What are some alternative careers you would have liked to have?

I have always been fascinated by fake food so if I could have a new career, I might like that. Or after zoom teaching my grandson, I really loved teaching and seeing that "light bulb" go off when he would understand something new.

Favorite shows? I hate sleeping so I watch a lot of TV at night. Favs - reruns of Seinfeld and anything on HGTV.

Your website?

Your Instagram? @pinkshoprye


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