Dr. Kim Schmidt (left) hands a copy of the book “The Ladies Room” to Brittany Promes (right) during a reception at the Carrollton Centre. “The Ladies Room” features photos <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->and biographies of women from the Carroll area who operate successful businesses. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The 88-page book encourages consumers to shop locally at independent shops and was inspired by the 3/50 Project, which originated in 2009. Also pictured are Jan Abbe (behind, left) and Jo Grundmeier (behind, right).
Dr. Kim Schmidt (left) hands a copy of the book “The Ladies Room” to Brittany Promes (right) during a reception at the Carrollton Centre. “The Ladies Room” features photos

and biographies of women from the Carroll area who operate successful businesses.

The 88-page book encourages consumers to shop locally at independent shops and was inspired by the 3/50 Project, which originated in 2009. Also pictured are Jan Abbe (behind, left) and Jo Grundmeier (behind, right).
February 3, 2014



They all can be found in "The Ladies Room, Carroll," a new book featuring more than three dozen businesswomen. They represent Carroll-area independent businesses ranging from one-person entrepreneurships to large, major business strongly rooted in the community's history. One thing they all have in common, according to the inside of the book cover, is they're "women with passion, connecting with purpose."

To Debera Quandt, who spearheaded the book project, "The Ladies Room" is a way to open eyes on how many local businesses are owned and operated by women, plus provide valuable information about those businesses. In addition, the businesswomen reveal insights to such things as their guiding principles and inspirations in their lives.

A rollout party where copies of the books were distributed to the businesswomen was held recently at the Carrollton Centre, and Quandt says they gave "The Ladies Room" rave reviews.

"The result is excellent. I'm ecstatic," Quandt says. "Everybody who's in the book loves them."

Complimentary copies of the books primarily will be distributed at the subjects' businesses, although there also may be some general-distribution sites, Quandt says.

Quandt jumped onto the idea of a "Ladies Room" book featuring Carroll-area businesswomen after she saw an Okoboji-area version last summer that Blink Marketing of Okoboji had recently published. That was Blink's first venture into "Ladies Room" books.

"I liked how it was arranged," Quandt says of the softcover book printed on thick, high-quality paper. "It has (the businesswomen's) names, a description of their businesses and how to contact them, photos of them and their businesses, and insights about them.

"I thought, 'Carroll needs one of these, a book to highlight women in business.'"

Quandt says that when she contacted Blink Marketing about the possibility of publishing a new "Ladies Room," this one featuring Carroll-are businesswomen, the response was: "Absolutely. You get the people and get the sponsors."

Quandt soon began contacting prospective businesswomen to feature in the book, as well as businesses to sponsor the printing costs. The idea quickly took off.

Businesswomen paid to be included in "The Ladies Room," and the Carroll version ended up with 41 businesses, with two pages devoted to each.

The businesses appear in the book alphabetically - beginning with Adams Street Bed & Breakfast and concluding with The Yarn Basket.

Collecting material for the book, Blink Marketing staff visited Carroll for three days to take photos of the women plus images that portray their businesses.

"It's amazing the number of women we have in business and the different businesses we have, all the way from interior design to landscaping, to kitchen ideas, to travel agents to healing center, to dance studios, to bed and breakfast," Quandt says. "So it's a wide variety."

Quandt herself is one of the women featured. She formerly operated Debera's School of Dance for 40 years before turning that business (now Fusion Dance) over a couple of years ago to her daughter Heather Knerl. Quandt now represents Rodan and Fields Dermatologists.

"I know what it's like to be a woman in business, and I think any little pat on the back is essential," Quandt says. "Women basically have come a long way in having their own businesses, being in the trenches of business."

The inside front cover of the book says "The Ladies Room" project itself is inspired by the 3/50 Project, which was launched in 2009 and promotes the success of independent local businesses by urging people to pick three such businesses, spend $50 at each and "save your local economy."

"Think about which three independently owned businesses you would miss most if they were suddenly gone," the 3/50 Project says. "Stop in and say hello. Pick up something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

"If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that."

The 3/50 Project also says that for every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to their communities through wages, taxes, payroll and other expenditures. That compares with $43 from $100 spent at a national chain store or nothing from online shopping.

In Blink Marketing's information-gathering for the book, it gave every businesswoman a list of dozens of questions about their business philosophy, background or themselves, and they could select a few to answer.

Some most frequently selected questions by the Carroll-area businesswomen were "What inspires you?" "What makes your business unique?" "What advice do you give other businesswomen?" "Who do you admire?" and "What do you love about Carroll?"

One of the distinctive businesses showcased in the books is The Grocery Gal, launched five years ago by Angie Gladden of Carroll to supplement her job as an at-home corporate travel agent for Agent 24, based in New York.

Gladden recalls, "When I was approached with the (book) project, I thought it might be a unique way to showcase businesswomen in the Carroll area, and I also thought it might be a nice way to learn about services some people might not know exist in our area - like my service. I don't have a storefront and don't do a lot of advertising, so I kind of trust more than anything word-of-mouth.

"It's also a nice way for people to put a face with a business and see the force behind that business."

In the book, Gladden describes The Grocery Gal as a "shopping and errand service assisting people with errands that are difficult to do or just don't have the time. A majority of the business is grocery shopping, but I also do personal shopping to department stores. I do errands of all sorts, such as: banks, post office, pharmacies and even fast-food runs."

The Grocery Gal's two pages in the book include five photos, and Gladden addressed the questions "What inspires you?", "Who do you most admire" and "What makes your business unique?".

After reading other businesswomen's answers to questions, Gladden says, "I think it's interesting that there seemed to be a theme or commonality among the ethics, which seemed to be live by the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated. I think that says a lot for our community, too, because in my other full-time (travel-agent) job I deal with professionals and businesspeople across the country, and unfortunately you don't always get that treatment."

Gladden says overall of the book, "I thought it was very well done. It was really professionally put together, yet it did have a personable sense to it. It's a nice way to feature women in our area. They did really nice features on everyone. It's a way to get to know us a little bit more and our services we offer to the public."

She says of the 3/50 Project focus on the importance of these local businesses, "I think it's great to support your community and your local businesses. I've always been for that. A person doesn't always stop and realize how your purchases or your support here or there can affect the community and keep it thriving."