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Two local business owners join forces, strengthening their prospects amid a tough economy

Businesspeople Ann Pavilack and Chris Wells joined forces at Hilltop North, bringing their businesses under the same roof as a means of staying competitive. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Businesspeople Ann Pavilack and Chris Wells joined forces at Hilltop North, bringing their businesses under the same roof as a means of staying competitive. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE

HILLTOP — When Wells and Company Fine Jewelry and Diamond was looking to move from its former location, owner Chris Wells did quite a bit of research, including staking out a nearby area of the Hilltop North Shopping Center. 

One business in particular  —  a retail store offering gifts and bridal registry services called the Globe — caught his eye. Among other things, there was good foot traffic from the Baker’s Crust restaurant next door.

Wells and Company has been at Hilltop for 16 of its 18 years. The Globe has been in business a decade, having started and grown at the Oceanfront before moving here. 

Wells ultimately made an offer that led to a partnership between two businesses, a major renovation of the Globe’s space, and both the Globe and Wells and Company operating there. The sign above the location now shows the Wells and Company name. The Globe is now the Globe Fine Gifts & Home at Wells and Company.

Wells said other businesses looking for ways to stay competitive in a challenging market might consider joining forces when there is a good fit. After he watched traffic outside, he approached Ann Pavilack, owner of the Globe, but did not immediately address his idea. 

“He introduced himself and asked me about the gifts we offered,” she recalled recenty, and he called back later in the day to discuss what he had in mind. Discussion that followed included her husband, Mark.

“It was a hard decision, at first,” Ann Pavilack said. “So much of a business owner’s identity is tied up in the business.”

But the comfort level with the idea grew, and they worked through concerns, for example, about ensuring staff who wanted to stay on under the new arrangement could do so.

Speaking of customers finding both businesses under the same roof, Pavilack said, “I think it helps to see familiar faces.”

Wells said the vast majority of customers have embraced the change. Additionally, the businesspeople learned they had a number of customers in common even before the change. 

“It was a natural to put a bridal registry and fine gifts with jewelry,” Wells said, noting that the united arrangement can help both businesses succeed together and grow. 

“What we did is adapt to a changing world,” he added.

The Independent News

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