From her street to Main Street, Kim Williams of The Polka Dot Press personifies the possibilities and opportunities of retail.
The final spotlight on our “This is Retail” Top 5 finalists, her stationery business, like so many small business ventures, began seven years ago from the comfort of her home. Starting as an online-only venture and a one person shop, Kim’s biggest fans were her neighbors and customers, who urged her to set up a storefront in Tallahassee, Florida. She now has seven employees in a prime location in The Market District and offers an internship program for aspiring students looking for a retail career after college. Her local success story eventually blossomed outside of Florida, and she now has a claim to some national bragging rights. Personalized stationery items from Polka Dot Press have been featured in magazines such as Southern Living, Tallahassee, and People. Today, many of her customers presume that she is part of a franchised enterprise, but are pleasantly surprised when Kim mentions that she started it all – a fact of which she is most proud.
Even though Kim’s online business has expanded, she believes strongly that the human interaction aspect of shopping will never go away. Her brick-and-mortar experience has allowed her to build relationships and life-long friends. She’s used this personalized approach to engender community support throughout the contest, “connecting the dots” to help get the word out and vote. As much as The Polka Dot Press loves their customers, the Tallahassee community feels the same way. Not to mention the Florida Retail Federation has been tweeting to help garner support, and Tallahassee.com has helped her on the media front. And Florida Governor Rick Scott has done his part to tweet and rally more than 22,000 of his followers to vote for Kim’s retail story.
If she wins, Kim plans to invest the money back into her business. After 20 years in retail where she started at a bakery (see was in it for the free doughnuts) Kim Williams is a prime example of the opportunities retail offers. Visit retailmeansjobs.com/vote to select your favorite video and decide which “This is Retail” video should be named the Best Retail Story in America.