Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers and diners would be hard pressed to find an empty storefront in downtown South Haven this summer.
More than a dozen new businesses and restaurants are opening up downtown this year. Although some businesses have replaced businesses that have decided to close, most have moved into spaces that were vacant.
One of the new stores is 42N Naturals, which is already gaining attention outside of the local market.
Rachel Leins opened 42N Naturals in May at 203 Center Street. What started as his desire to help a family member find a non-irritating skin care product not only turned into a new business venture – but a chance for Leins to earn up to $ 50,000. $ in an upcoming competition for small business owners.
Leins will be one of 10 entrepreneurial small businesses in Southwest Michigan that have been shortlisted for the Cornerstone Alliance’s “Small Fish, Big Pitch” competition. Based on the hit TV show “Shark Tank”, the 10 companies will present their business, its potential and its local impact to a panel of famous judges and a live audience for the chance to win a total of 100 $ 000 in marketing services from Holt Bosse Marketing Agency in Saint-Joseph.
The Small Fish, Big Pitch competition, hosted by the Cornerstone Alliance Women’s Business Center, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 at the Shadowland on Silver Beach Event Center, 333 Broad St., St. Joseph.
âLeins is the only South Haven nominee to be selected and will represent our small business community and the South Haven entrepreneurship and uniquely present our community,â said Suzanne Sutherland Loafman, co-owner of ThinkBar Coworking Space for independent contractors in Havre du Sud.
The contest judges will select the first two winners, while the public will select the winner of the People’s Prize.
The competition will be hosted by Zack East, vice president of customer success for Midwest Family Broadcasting. Famous sharks include Pat Moody, founder of Moody on the Market; Sandra Cochrane, associate dean of the Western Michigan University School of Medicine Innovation Center; Marci Taylor, Managing Director of WSMK Radio; Joe Zwiller, chair of the business department at Lake Michigan College and Dave Holt, director of Holt Bosse.
Other business competitors in southwest Michigan are Cameron Metheney, president of Palermo Design Corp .; Chandra Williams, owner of Lunch Money Designs; Christine Velasco, owner of I Heart Spanish; Kristin Bivens, owner of Wicked Pop Candle Co.; Lauren Kniebes, co-owner of Lazy Ballerina Winery; Lisa Miller, owner of Forever Clean Soap Works Inc .; Richard Plangger, President of Plangger’s Furniture Inc .; Sarah Forrest, founder of Guardian; and Tynish Murphy, owner of The Blessed Noah’s Ark daycare and learning center.
Leins opened 42N Naturals in May. The store’s all-natural products are handcrafted by Leins and his staff using plant-based ingredients such as shea butter, sugars, lavender, coffee beans, dried flowers, powder. blueberry and eucalyptus from local producers.
After a successful first summer season, Leins said she plans to add new products and services to the organic skin care product line.
âConsumers are desperate for skin and body care products without harsh chemicals, dyes or synthetic materials,â she said. “After three months, we were able to establish a loyal customer base and expand into the wholesale market.”
This month, she is showcasing the concept of a ‘Make Your Own’ lotion bar where customers will have the option to create their own lotion scent using Leins’ home lotion base blend, custom-created labels. from recycled cereal boxes and a wide selection of oils and fragrances.
With a background in sustainability, Leins said she makes it a priority to practice sustainable business practices.
âAs a sustainability advocate, I source most of the ingredients and packaging locally to reduce transportation, support local businesses, and use recycled packaging to minimize local waste and plastics near the Great Lakes,â a- she declared.
Leins has spent 23 years in the energy industry working with commercial and industrial buildings to achieve energy savings by implementing sustainability efforts.
She began making homemade skin care products for her family after a family member’s autoimmune disease made it difficult to find store-bought products that wouldn’t create skin irritation.
Leins began to design soap recipes using only natural ingredients. Its line now includes homemade soap, shampoo bars, lotion, sugar scrubs, body butter, lip balm, beard balm and beard oils.