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Lockport candy store owner seeks coaching from business program

Program helps small business owners succeed

Published: Thursday, June 4, 2015 11:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2015 11:04 p.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Wendy Carver, owner of Hollingworth Candies in Lockport, participated this week in the Accion Fast Track business coaching program.

LOCKPORT – The owner of Hollingworth Candies in Lockport has participated in a Chicago program in an effort to improve her business. 

Wendy Carver took part in the Accion Fast Track program, which invites a select group of small businesses in the Chicago area and nationwide for coaching to overcome obstacles and become successful.

“I like to say we’ve been on the slow track, but we have built quite a bit through the years and there’s some things I’d like to know more about and have someone show me what they [have] gone through and their experience,” Carver said.

She said Accion Chicago, a lender and business support organization, helped Hollingworth Candies with funds so the business could grow. It recommended the company go through the program. 

The program is supported by Capitol One and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and run through Accion International, a global nonprofit organization that supports business owners. Besides business training and coaching, the program helps participants develop their personal and professional growth plans. 

Gretchen Ruethling, Accion corporate partnerships director, said the program was started because Accion realized its loan clients could benefit not only from acquiring funds, but also coaching to help them with various business issues. 

“Maybe they have hurdles we could help them troubleshoot,” Ruethling said. 

Business owners chosen for the program are “rock stars that are poised for growth,” she said. 

Carver said Hollingworth Candies has been in Lockport’s historic downtown district for about 16 years. The downtown area seems to be coming alive and Mayor Steven Streit has been instrumental, she said.

“We’ve seen a lot and we try to stay and continue with the community, offering our treats and seeing it grow,” she said. 

Carver said she participated in the program Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago. She thought it was fantastic.

“It was very informative and it helped me focus on the path I want to take with the business,” she said. 

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