Building communities in and out of the store

Small business owner on the unexpected impact of retail

More often than not, starting a retail business means more than becoming a small business owner — it also means becoming a bigger part of the local community, as well as the community of retailers all around the country. In this episode, we talk with Rachael Gruntmeir, owner of the Black Scintilla boutique in Oklahoma City, about building thriving communities — both in and out of the store.

Looking for more independence in her work life, Gruntmeir opened the Black Scintilla in Oklahoma City’s Midtown neighborhood four years ago, and quickly discovered just how much opportunity there was to have an impact beyond simply running a business. “There’s really so much more to retail than just these four little walls that you’re in, every day. That’s been one of my favorite parts,” she says, “how you can use the business to really help other people.”

Black Scintilla owner Rachael Gruntmeir
Rachael Gruntmeir, owner of the Black Scintilla boutique in Oklahoma City.

Gruntmeir serves on the Midtown OKC Association board of directors, which has been critical for both growing the business and giving back. “It’s another thing to do,” she says, “but the partnerships and the relationships you build are huge.” Gruntmeir and her fellow business owners have come together to develop events and promotions that support the community and local nonprofits, including a nonprofit movie theater that offers discounted snacks for customers who show a Black Scintilla receipt.

“I think my biggest positive thing I can take away from being a small business owner is just the impact you can play on one person’s life and your community,” she says. “It’s amazing how you can help somebody feel their best in the store when they were having a really down day, or you can go to D.C. and help create better laws that are going to help other business owners.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the origins of Black Scintilla, Gruntmeir’s vision for lifting the entire retail community and the ways small business owners can make a big difference.

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