Meet Carmen- one of the owners of Anniedotes, the family run liquor store located at 2016 E 8th Street in Odessa, Texas. AnnieDotes was starting up during 2020 (mid-pandemic!)- and officially opened on June 21st, 2021!
What makes your business unique?
We try to maintain a wide variety of high quality inventory instead of only bulking a few products. We also have committed to create a family-like atmosphere within our walls. This means caring about our customers as individuals like learning their names and listening to what their wants/needs are. As a specific example, we realized people enjoyed cold fireballs, so we bought a fridge and kept it stocked with a few options our customers enjoy cold-on-purchase.
What advice would you give to other business owners about starting a business?
Just know businesses get expensive quickly and you need to not only plan for all the funding you will need in advance, but also plan for “surprises” that will most definitely come up at some point. I would suggest finding a financial professional to guide you on this, it’s a huge responsibility on your own.
How do you connect with your community?
I wish I had more time to go out and serve our community, but for now I try to do what I can. We let local food trucks set up on our property for free and work together to help each other get customers. I also have an old partnership with the Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang and enjoy helping them put on large events, like the International Oil Show here in town.
As I mentioned earlier, inside our store- we strive for that family-like atmosphere. We love when people share with us about their highs (and their lows) and do our best to support them in both. I believe this is especially important in the town we live in. Odessa, being an “oil-town”, brings many workers away from their home and sometimes even away from family and friends. So just taking time to listen and showing you care- goes a long way. [Group 1826 note: I have personally seen this in action. Recently when visiting Carmen at her store, every person that came in was greeted with a warm smile and at times – a hug!]
What’s the next step for your business?
To be honest, as a small business that we started/ financed on our own– we are working on growing our budget. This would allow us to do 2 things we are really looking forward to: hiring other employees and being able to grow our inventory.
How did Group 1826 help you solve a challenge in your business?
Well, I tried to do the bookkeeping all by myself. I even bought QuickBooks, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t just about entering numbers. I needed to depreciate our building and other things that went above my skill set. So, I searched for a bookkeeping company. Unfortunately, I struggled with bookkeepers that did things their way and weren’t concerned about what we needed. Then we were passed around from staff member to staff member. I even had regularly scheduled meetings to discuss everything, but the bookkeeper would just send me reports and read them to me. I had no idea what they were saying or what questions to ask so I could understand. Things quickly went south and I ended up with books that were a mess and a drained budget even after trying more than one company.
But then I found Group 1826. The bookkeeper I have with them is AMAZING! It felt too good to be true when I immediately started receiving great service and wasn’t being charged ridiculous amounts of money. Their bookkeepers are so flexible and work hard to communicate. Sometimes in the food/beverage business- I have to do things unplanned or make quick financial decisions. I know I can just contact my bookkeeper and get her advice about how it will affect my books or how to make the wisest decision. Group 1826 really cares about who their clients are and know the details of managing unique aspects to their books. I feel “known” not just “another client”.