Clayton entrepreneur receives Mesalands SBDC award

Special to QCS

Mary Gallagher of Mary’s Place was honored at the State Capitol as the year’s outstanding client of the Mesalands Community College Small Business Development Center. She was also presented to the state’s lawmakers in a special recognition ceremony in the Capitol building, according to a press release from the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network.

Mary’s Place has it all – in fact, some people in Clayton consider it their mini-mall, the release said. Mary Gallagher’s business, which she repurchased in 1992 from a previous owner, contains a café; tanning beds; gifts and flowers; a hairdressing salon; and, located across the street, a laundry, the release said.

This diversified retail establishment is a true example of how to make a small-town business a success, the release said.

With a population of 2,186, Clayton has a number of needs but lacks a large population to sustain many full-time businesses. Gallagher found a way to integrate several small related businesses to provide her customers with additional services, the release said.
“Service is our number one concern. We want our customers to have an enjoyable experience,” Gallagher told the SBDC Network

The gift shop contains a variety of unique items not found in many stores. Gift items are always coming in, so customers have new things to look at. Mary’s Flowers has a Web site designed to help individuals pick out special gifts for all occasions, and the café, Mary’s Back Porch, is also a meeting place for the community. Special coffee drinks, cookies made by local residents and other hometown food items are served, the release said.

Gallagher has participated in several SBDC classes, such as “Listening to Your Business,” a facilitated learning experience developed by the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Foundation in Kansas City. This peer-learning experience helps local business owners share their knowledge with each other.

Gallagher’s Mesalands SBDC recognition in Santa Fe was held in February.
“The SBDC has offered many programs that I feel have helped my business,” Gallagher said in the network release. “I like the fact that several of the programs have become forums for local business owners to help each other with issues and opportunities.”
For help in creating or growing a small business, call the Mesalands Community College Small Business Development Center at (505) 461-4413, ext. 140.