Magnolia House: Business with a Purpose

Alyssa Doebler on September 2, 2014 - 8:53 am in Retail Shop, Small Business Feature

magnolia house

When Nancy Veldman moved to Florida, she had the idea of opening a gift shop. Her vision was to create a community, not just a store, where individuals could come to relax and feel at peace. In 1992, with no previous retail experience, Nancy opened Magnolia House. Nancy’s shop offers a unique mix of products including CDs, books, note cards, and watercolor paintings, all of which she has created herself. She plays the music, writes the books, and paints the paintings. She also has a charity she runs through her gift shop. The overarching theme of Magnolia House is to meet the needs of others and take care of those around us. Let’s take a look at how Nancy does that on a daily basis.

  1. magnolia house ottomanListening to customers

Since most of Nancy’s customers are tourists, marketing can be a challenge. She has tried many different marketing methods, but the tried and true method for her is through word of mouth. She has found that offering customers a unique and enjoyable experience can make them your greatest marketing asset.

Nancy’s goal is to provide products that both she and her customers love. She has done this by taking the time to listen to her customers.  If enough customers come in to her store asking for specific products she doesn’t carry, she will order them.

  1. Utilizing her talents and passions

DSCN0719Nancy loves using her talents to bless and help other people. When she first opened Magnolia House, she began writing her own music. Since then, she has recorded 10 CDs and has even had the opportunity to play with one of James Taylor’s guitarists. To incorporate her passion for music into her shop, she moved her piano to her store and plays for her customers. Additionally, her music is played in many hospitals, cancer centers, and offices. She is inspired to use her music to touch other people and bring them joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Magnolia House is a conglomeration of all of Nancy’s passions. She has found a way to do the things she loves and help others at the same time. Her shop is set up to be a sort of solace and refuge for people to escape from the craziness and hardship of life to experience peace.

  1. Caring about people and the community

In addition to creating an inviting environment for her own customers, she also has a non-profit that helps whoever is in need. She takes food to the homeless and educates others about homelessness and how they can help. When she first opened her shop, she had a jar sitting on the counter for donations for the homeless.  After some time, she took the plunge and started her own non-profit organization to do even more to help. Helping those less fortunate has always been important to her.

magnolia house interiorShe has been helping a particular couple for seven years. The wife has multiple sclerosis, and Nancy dedicated a song to them on her most recent CD.

Nancy has accurately captured the idea of a successful business in this quote, “I love what I do and never tire of it. I look so forward to going to work every day.” I challenge you to take the same view. Creatively figure out how to do what you love, and then get out there and do it!



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