Mountains

Love on a Hanger finds home downtown

Sam Green/Cortez Journal Owner of Love On A Hanger Tiffani Waters poses outside her newly remodeled building on Main Street.

By Rachel Segura Journal staff writer

Tiffani Waters is in her second year as a small business owner. She didn't have any prior retail experience and never owned a business before.

At 23 years old, the young entrepreneur is still relatively new to the game, but from the look of her store, Love on a Hanger, one would never know it.

Waters, a 2010 Fort Lewis College graduate with a degree in accounting and finance, knew there were risks in opening a women's boutique. Specialty stores in Cortez don't always make it. It helped that the economy was slowly emerging from a recession, but people are still coddling their paychecks.

Waters knew there was a risk. She also knew that a women's boutique in Cortez had a chance.

"Everyone has to shop at some point or another and it seemed like people were having to travel out of town to do that," Waters said. "There is always a risk with opening a business no matter when you do it but I saw a need for it."

Waters took a three-month long business-planning course at the Small Business Development Center. Her plan in the course was awarded second place for overall business strategy. That gave Waters the incentive and confidence to move forward with the idea.

When the location, 34 E. Main St., came available, Waters knew she had to jump on it. In August 2011, she opened her store. For the first few months, there was a constant stream of customers. Waters was unsure there had even been a recession with the buzz her shop created. The positive response only reassured her that she was on the right path.

"Opening during a hard time was only a testament to my business doing well," Waters said proudly. "If I can make it through difficult times, I can make it through good times."

Cortez now has two other women's clothing stores in downtown. Waters is happy someone followed in her footsteps saying the competition is friendly.

"I think it's great they're here too," she said. "We can collaborate on sales and send customers to one another when we don't have what they are looking for."

Every person that walks in the door of Love on a Hanger is greeted by Waters with a big smile and a kind hello, adhering to her pleasing personality.

Her storefront has recently been updated to give it a more modern look, and she said that 2013 is getting off to a good start. Though the looming possibility of future financial crisis stalks communities around the country, Waters sees no point in worrying.

"At this point it is all just speculation," she said. "Things can always be worse. It can go either way. I can't really worry about it because there's not much you can do. You just have to work with it. It will drive you crazy if you do (worry)."

Waters keeps a positive attitude when it comes to looking at the future. Right now she is focused on her sales so that one day she can hire employees. At the moment, she has help from a few employees who fill in when she cannot be at the store - but for the most part, she has a one-woman operation.

Clean and organized, with various shades of pink and black décor give Love on a Hanger a Parisian-like atmosphere. The styles are fashionable and chic, offering women variety that is close to home.

"The store changes all the time," Waters said. "I get new products in every day so the store never looks the same. Every day is different from the one before. That's what is fun about the job."

And that helps keep her on her toes. The excitement of a new day and new possibilities is all she looks forward to. Recession, economical failure and such, don't interest Waters. Why should they?

Perhaps she has found the secret to her success.

No worries and no regrets. She'll hang those up for now.

rachels@cortezjournal.com

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