June 2022

Dream Launch Awards - Bliss Hair and Nail Studio

Bliss Hair and Nail Studio owners, Gabriela and Maria Blair, decided to open their business on Main Street in Danville because they wanted to establish a hair and nail salon that brings the newest, latest modern trends of the beauty industry and to be on par with other bigger cities. Their mission is to be dedicated to providing personalized attention with genuine care to their clients and guests in a warm, relaxing atmosphere that is welcoming to everyone. Bliss Hair and Nail Studio uses only eco-friendly, cruelty-free and sustainable products because they want to nourish the health of their customer’s hair and teach them how to take care of it well.

They wanted the studio to be located in the River District because it is exciting to see Danville and the River District coming to life.   They put a lot of thought into the studio’s design, taking into consideration the historical architecture and feeling of the building.  With a calming green color, and natural design accents, they intentionally designed the salon to be comfortable and welcoming to whomever walks in.  They are qualified to work with many kinds of hair and are also bi-lingual: English and Spanish.

Mother-daughter team Maria and Gabriela came to Danville from Nicaragua 24 years ago and Danville has been their second home since then.  They see how much potential Danville has and want to be a part of making Danville beautiful by adding their strengths and vision to all the other creative ventures in the community. They love Danville because it has so many elegant and charming buildings that are waiting for people in the community to bring their unique tastes, creative ideas, and bring to life to those empty, dark places and they see these historical buildings like hidden treasures that need to be polished to make them shine.

What made you decide to take part in the Dream Launch Bootcamp/Pitch Competition?  

“We began dreaming of opening Bliss Hair and Nail Studio in 2018 and planned on opening in 2020. The first step we took was to go to the Economic Development Office for advice and information and we talked to Kelvin Perry. He encouraged us to do the Dream Launch program.  During COVID everything shut down, but we kept busy writing our business plan during quarantine. By early fall of 2021, we began preparing for Dream Launch to start class in January 2022.”

How would you describe your experience in the Dream Launch Bootcamp? 

“The River District Association is doing an amazing job working tirelessly to help make our community grow. It provided great insight to see so many industries come together with one common goal.  Anyone who is interested in starting a business should take the Dream Launch program.”

How will the Dream Launch Grant funds help you expand/start your business? 

“The funds helped us to expand into our second opening phase by offering nail care services in the River District. We are bringing the latest models and technology of nail equipment. We are bringing a vast inventory of products for hair, skin, and nails and we designed a custom-made color bar that will hold the entire color spectrum of hair color shades.”

Any words of wisdom for new entrepreneurs? 

“Put the work in motion and be intentional. Put love into everything you do.  Gain knowledge by reading and researching!”

Dream Launch Awards - Temptations Gourmet

The River District Association is excited to celebrate the 2022 Dream Launch Pitch Grant Awardees!  These businesses participated in a 6 week Dream Launch Bootcamp that covered topics from financial planning, business planning, access to capital, marketing and more.  Those that attended all 6 classes were able to pitch for funding if they chose to.  

Temptations Gourmet, owned by Carnesha Fuller, was awarded $24,000 from the Dream Launch program and $2,500 from Movement Bank to help establish a brick and mortar business in the River District. 

Temptations Gourmet owner Carnesha Fuller loves traveling, shopping, cooking and extreme couponing.  At the age of 8 years old, her grandmother who raised her taught her the fundamentals of cooking. She has also been making sweet goodies and treats for birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions.  One day in 2020, her pastor asked her to make him a salad.  He thought it was beautifully presented, and tasted amazing, so he took a photo and put it on Facebook.  From then on, people began to call Carnesha asking her to make them salads for lunch and other occasions, and the salad business was born!  

Carnesha grew up in Java, Va and has lived in Danville for the last 24 years.  She has seen the growth in the River District, and sees the amazing potential for even more growth, and wants to contribute to the River District’s coming back to life.  She is excited to begin offering her creations in a brick and mortar location, and creating a legacy for her children!

The awarded Dream Launch funds will be used to remodel the Temptations Gourmet brick and mortar location, as well as purchase essential equipment needed to run her business successfully. Stay tuned for an announcement of where the business will be located!

What made you decide to take part in the Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition?

“I was successful doing custom order salads.  I had conversations with Mr. Kelvin Perry at the Office of Economic Development and with Councilman Bryant Hood about having a brick and mortar business in the River District.  They encouraged me to take the Dream Launch Bootcamp and pitch my business.  They said, “You have a gold mine, don’t let it get away.”"

How would you describe your experience in the Dream Launch Bootcamp?

“The Dream Launch Bootcamp was an excellent program.  It was so informative.  The one thing I wish is that there could be some “mini workshop series” outside of the program, to continue the education and relationships formed in the Bootcamp.”

Words of Wisdom for new Entrepreneurs

“Don’t give up!  No dream is too crazy not to pursue.”

 

Dream Launch Awards - Urban Fitness

The River District Association is excited to celebrate the 2022 Dream Launch Pitch Grant Awardees!  These businesses participated in a 6 week Dream Launch Bootcamp that covered topics from financial planning, business planning, access to capital, marketing and more.  Those that attended all 6 classes were able to pitch for funding if they chose to.  

Urban Fitness, owned by Marvin Ken Jones, was awarded $13,200 to help expand the gym located at 525 Loyal Street.