By Lisa Carolin
There are many businesses in Chelsea owned by women, ranging from the Tree House indoor playground on South Main Street, owned by Michele Balaka, to the office of Susan Jacobs, owned by the eponymous Certified Public Accountant.
Bonnie Cook owns three downtown Chelsea businesses – the Potting Shed located on Middle Street, the Potting Shed on Main, and Cut Loose Clothing.
Cook summed it up when she said, “Women are the shoppers, and women know women.”
Some of the other businesses owned by women include Zou Zou’s Cafe, Hair by Trios, La Maison and Chelsea Village Flowers, owned by Jennifer Bollinger.
“As far as being a woman and a business owner, when you put your all into something and treat people the way they want to be treated, that’s the heart of a successful business,” said Bollinger.
Gigi Batsakis owns Gigi’s Flowers and Gifts and says that she’s spent 20 years at her current location and used the time to learn what people like and dislike.
“Being accountable is very important as is admitting when you’re wrong,” said Batsakis, who credits her time working with Pharmacist Dan Murphy at the Chelsea Drug Store with teaching her to be a good businessperson.
“It’s about learning your market and then marketing what you’ve got. We have a great town and the people are very loyal,” she said.
Other woman-owned businesses include The Garden Mill, which will celebrate its third anniversary in July with its second female owner, Jennifer Fairfield, Moran’s Consignment, The Attic Boutique, and Vintage Barn Boutique, which is owned by Cathy Melton.
“I love the fact that East Middle Street businesses are now 100 percent owned by women,” said Melton. “There is strength in numbers and each one of us strongly supports each other. There is a special camaraderie with women-owned businesses. We appreciate the difficulties we each go through with balancing and raising a family while at the same time building successful businesses. You have to respect that because it isn’t easy.”
Carolyn McNagny, who owns Bumbles Dry Goods, says that all of Chelsea’s businesses get a lot of support from the residents.
“It’s a great place to run a business, and a lot of people who live in town go out of their way to try to find what they’re looking for here before they take their business elsewhere,” said McNagny. “There is always something going on in Chelsea, and everybody seems to be involved in the town’s success,”
Woman-owned businesses continue to pop up. Earlier this year, Alison Mackie opened the Chelsea Underground Art Gallery on South Main Street. Coming up in July, Sue Whitmarsh and Marie Brooks will be opening Breathe Yoga studio on East Middle Street.
(Publisher’s note: If we missed any businesses in Chelsea owned by women, let us know.)