For nearly a decade, Suite B at 806 NE Waldo Road sat unrented. Now, it’s home to Boss Moves Nutrition, which celebrated with a ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon. Owner Shaques McMillian’s eyes filled with tears as she placed her hands through the giant scissors and cut the red ribbon.
“The goal for this location is to impact the community,” McMillian said about her nutrition club’s first storefront location. “I want to change people’s lives all the way around and beyond their wildest dreams.”
The ceremony was made possible by the Greater Gainesville Chamber. The business advocacy group hosted two ribbon cutting ceremonies on Thursday. In addition to Boss Moves Nutrition, interior furnishings and décor store The Home Place co-owners Michelle and Miles McElroy cut their ribbon at 105 SW 140th Ct. in Newberry, Fla.
“Being a small local business owner, it is nice to have an organization that will support you and help you with it all,” Michelle McElory said.
With more than 10 years of design experience, McElory said she wanted to open a store where people could come and get everything for their home under one roof. She opened her store right before the pandemic began and became a member of the chamber. She said she wanted to create more awareness and to have a little celebration because they never had a grand opening due to COVID-19.
The chamber, founded in 1924 with an initiative to help support new businesses in the community, focuses on economic development, talent and education, public policy and business development. It is ranked in the top 1 percent of all chambers nationwide due to its demonstration of organizational strength and the impact it has on key community priorities.
“We always want to be in the top area,” Eric Godet Sr., president and CEO of the chamber said. “We believe our residents and businesses deserve to have the best.”
Julianne Raymond, the chamber’s member development manager, said the ribbon cuttings serve as a platform but also a celebration.
“It is not easy to start your own business,” Raymond said. “It is not easy to keep your own business. If we are able to be their cheerleader and support them then we want to do that.”
Anyone who is a member of the chamber can qualify for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Business owners can decide what to include in their ceremonies, but with a basic level membership and an additional $100 fee, the chamber provides the ribbon and scissors.
The chamber offers best practice recommendations to businesses, including which community members to invite to the ceremony create a larger network.
Amid the pandemic, the ribbon cutting ceremonies never stopped. There were around 25 ceremonies in 2020, Raymond said. Businesses could host the ceremonies as private events that only invited guests were allowed to attend.
“We continued to have the ceremonies and people were taking the risk and putting their savings in to opening businesses,” Godet said. “It just showed the strength and resilience of the community.”
Now, business owners have the option to open their ceremonies to as many people as they would like.
With the help of the chamber, McMillian said she wants Boss Moves Nutrition to build a family strictly from people coming in, enjoying the products, and falling in love with them. Thursday’s ceremony was a good start.
“Everything flowed together so well, and I am so grateful for everyone,” McMillian said. “Cutting the ribbon felt like I had crossed the first finish line of the first stage of opening the business.”