The small Bowling Green business continues to thrive after major challenges.

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Many small business owners have faced many challenges in recent years.

Here’s the story of a Wood County business owner who overcame every obstacle and came out stronger than ever.

For Keeps opened in 1997 as a general gift store selling everything from home decor and accessories to pottery and quirky gifts.

The shop survived both the Great Recession and the COVID-19 crisis. The owner says there are a few simple reasons for this.

Owner Amy Craft Ahrens said keeping the doors open depends on customer service.

“You have to be agile and open to change. We also need to focus our efforts on the shopping experience. People want to walk into a store like ours with amazing smells and beautiful things to look at during the shopping experience. »

Ahrens said her parents, who are entrepreneurs in Bowling Green, offered her advice, which she attributes to her success.

“They told me to save all that money because you don’t know what’s coming for you. This is the best advice I received as I needed all that money to get through the recession that hit in 2008-2009. When we were through about five years of this recession, I remember telling an aide at the time that we could go through anything. then COVID hit.

When the store was closed during the pandemic, Ahrens said an idea was born that still bears fruit today. The idea led to mystery boxes filled with fun gifts. “We put mystery boxes together based on a person’s likes and dislikes. We do all the work. We pack it up and mail it out and you’re done. It helped us through the pandemic and helped me pay the staff during this time.

Deb Baerwaldt is a long-time client of For Keeps and a small business owner herself. She said support can take many forms.

“It’s not just about financial support. Today, with social media, you can share a company’s story. There are many ways to support a small business. Leaving a good review is also very important. Collectively, these forms of support are what allow places like downtown Bowling Green to thrive.

For Keeps is throwing a big party on August 20 to mark its quarter century of business. To learn more, Click here.

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