IB Nuts and Fruit Too Gets A Facelift!
February 3, 2023
The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities.
Since 1993, IB Nuts & Fruits Too has been creating gift boxes and baskets filled with Missouri-made products for Washington, Missouri area businesses and individuals. Through the ‘Art of Giving’ residents have grown to treasure IB Nuts & Fruits Too as it has grown over its almost 30 years from one of its original owners Margaret Horn, known endearingly as ‘The Nut Lady’, to being passed down to Barbara Hillerman and her daughter Kristy Stoyer who operated the store for about 18 years moving the store to its current location on the corner of Elm and Second street.
Holly Wunderlich is the newest owner of IB Nuts & Fruit Too as she stepped into ownership when Barbara retired in July of 2019 after working with her and Kristy to transition the store and customers smoothly. She kept the status quo initially, but there was a lot of work to do in continuing to grow the business and what it could offer to its customers.
Holly’s background in customer service, an MBA, and a project management certification have been beneficial in effectively running the business. During the pandemic shut down, Holly offered free delivery of baskets along with an established shipping option. She marketed this heavily and actually gained business as companies looked for ways to show appreciation to employees working from home. However, she still wanted help to expand this as part of her business and increase her sales year-round.
She saw the Downtown Strong Grant as an opportunity to work with a consultant to provide valuable feedback and analysis of the business that will help her make the best decisions moving forward. In her application, Holly had identified several areas of growth for IB Nuts & Fruits Too since succeeding the previous owners with updating and refreshing the store’s brand and image, both online and in the physical storefront, streamlining the business operations side to assist in inventory and accounting procedures as well as a better integrated point of sale system, and finding ways to diversify her customer base to increase sales. With these objectives in mind, it made sense for her to work with Chimera Creative Works, also in Washington, Missouri.
Steven Lyles with Chimera worked with Holly to provide a complete evaluation of the business, its operations, sales, brand, products and services, and customers. He then built a business plan that would direct Holly moving forward. In addition, Chimera helped Holly with ideas on a brand refresh, building a new website, and designing a new store layout.
Holly noted that, overall, the grant came at a great time for her as she recently had transitioned into ownership of this existing business. She said:
“It allowed me access to professional services I otherwise would not have been able to afford. It helped me put things in writing and focus my business on what I want to accomplish in the next few years. While the business was previously successful, I knew we could do even more and continue to grow, especially online. We were able to launch a new website and update the brand, which was the main goal.”
There is a lot happening in Downtown Washington and Holly wanted to make sure her business stayed relevant and was a business the town would be proud to keep in its downtown. She said, “I love the new look and feel Chimera created. I am excited to continue to implement the changes and incorporate the new brand and tag line.”
The services included in this article were prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.