419.668.9858 info@norwalknedc.com

Liliana Mazariegos López, Quesa-Broso Food Truck

“It was never in my plans. It just happened. I thought I was going to be in the medical field for the longest time, but, it just kind of happened. I posted a picture on Facebook of my food, and it took off from there. I never had the intention of becoming a business owner at all. So, I posted food on Facebook that I made and people kept asking where can I buy? I gave them my recipes and they said they didn’t want to make it, they just wanted to buy what I made. I started selling to friends and family and it started growing to friends of friends and so-on. We found a food truck and I was like I don’t know if that’s the right option, but it ended up being our choice. This is what we were going to do. We’ll help our family, and our girls will have a better future. It took me a couple of months to fill out the health department application. I put it aside at first because I thought it was just too much. I felt silly because I had nothing that I needed. Then I thought if I did one question a day, I could do it. I could get it done. I would research that one question each day. I did so much research. Then, one day, I looked at it, and it was complete. I turned it in, and It went through. It was approved without any adjustments. I keep doing it for the people. There came a point where I didn’t want to do it anymore because it takes a lot of time from my kids. But everywhere we’d go, people kept telling us how much they loved it and that it was so delicious and something they never had before. It’s a big sacrifice but it’s something unique I am offering to the community. My advice is to not give up. To always take it one question a day. Be determined if that’s what you really want. Stay focused on it and just keep on going.”
– Liliana Mazariegos López, Owner, Quesa-Broso Food Truck

Kim Moore, KLM Benefits Solutions

“I went to art school and spent 30 years of my career in graphic and web design, marketing, photography, etc. In the early 2000’s, there was a lot of downsizing in those departments and my husband, who owned an insurance company, kept saying come work in the office with me and I came into it literally kicking & screaming. Eventually, he convinced me to get my license for selling home, auto and business insurance, and I hated it. It was very much sales, arm twisting, and it was not in my makeup to do this kind of thing. A few years later, he said he wanted me to get my health and life license and I thought he was crazy – I didn’t even know how to read my own health policy! Well, I ended up getting my license anyway. My husband said he would coach me but every time I had an appointment, he had a conflict, so I really had to teach myself how to do it all. It was hard to consume all at once, but I grabbed every resource I could to help me learn. I did well and ended up adding on my Medicare certification. I have to tell you; the Medicare part is my favorite. You’re able to get so much face time with the seniors on Medicare. When they come in, the appointment always ends with a hug, they bake me little treats and I just absolutely love it, they’re just so sweet. Like I said, I’m not a salesperson and this side of the business is helping people because they don’t understand the policies because it is very confusing. When I first meet someone, I take a few minutes to get to know them and gauge how I’m going to word the language in a way that clicks with them. I want all my clients to be comfortable, knowledgeable and know I’m a resource for them. My advice is to do as much research as you can before starting. Ask friends, family, network with other business owners and search through your community – NEDC, RISE, The Chamber. All of these helped to at least steer me in the right direction. Owning a business is so rewarding – yes, you have bad days, but you have great days, too. Just stay fluid, determined, and make it happen.”
– Kim Moore, Owner, KLM Benefits Solutions, LLC

Arvydas Montivilas, Catering by Design

“I got into the food industry by a fluke. During the 70’s, I was pumping gas during the gas crisis. A buddy of mine worked at a restaurant, and I was fed up with the gas station gig. I was just 15 and I told them I was done. So, I jumped in with my buddy at the restaurant. They needed help. I’ll never forget, like 20 minutes later, my buddy got fired. The chef/owner asked if I knew how to cook? I said yes, and two years later, I was running the kitchen. I just had a natural passion for it. I have actually always wanted to have my own business and be my own boss as they say. Control my destiny. It took time before I made the leap. I got married, had my kids, and I was very successful in my career as a Senior District Sales Manager. There was a lot of change at the top. I had to keep trying to prove myself to new people until finally, I took a leap of faith, walked away from a very good job, and started my business. I like the catering business because I have a lot of control. With this, I don’t have to answer to somebody else. I get to make the decisions – good, bad or indifferent – it’s still mine. I like the flexibility and the freedom, but in the same token, as the owner, I’m 24/7. You’re never away even when you go home. I pretty much work seven days a week. I think you have to understand that it’s going to take a lot of hard work, determination and time. Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to be rich. If you are ambitious enough, you can grow. Bottom line, you have to be patient and willing to put the time in. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
– Arvydas Montivilas, Owner, Catering By Design

Erich Metzger, Norwalk Wellness Center

“I think the big reason why is because a lot of my current business ventures are not in Norwalk. It made sense to look at something in the community where I live. When I found the opportunity to purchase Northern Ohio Cryotherapy, it fit with my goals and with what I do to keep myself healthy. It just made sense. I love the ability to give the community things that are typically only available in larger cities. In New York, there would be something like this on every street. Here, we get to focus on the latest and greatest technologies. I’d like to thank my employees, customers and partners. You can’t run a business as a dictator. It has to be run as a team, a family, a partnership. From door opener to VP, it doesn’t matter, you’re a team. When you are thinking entrepreneurship, you have to think what is your company doing for you/giving you to make you be successful? I preach this with my employees. What are we doing to help you be successful? If we are only adding value to our customers and not our employees, we are not doing our job. We just got our Yoga room finished, so we are adding classes in there. We are looking to add another medical professional into one of our offices. We want to listen to what our customers need and focus on staying up-to-date. And, personally, I plan on investing more in Norwalk and expanding my portfolio. The changes we’ve made into the business is to really focus on a wellness and holistic view of helping people. The vision is really starting to come together. I’m excited to see where it goes from here.”
– Erich Metzger, Owner, Norwalk Wellness Center

Justin Phillips, Saloon13

“Making my own business ensured that I stayed busy and aimed toward the future. You can always kinda drag your feet when you are working for somebody, and you can make all right money, but you can make better money and stay motivated when you are responsible for your own plate. You’re more apt to keep your doors open when you are relying on yourself as well. It also gives me complete freedom to explore other scopes of practice I want to do whether it be body modification, painting, traveling, convention circuits and stuff like that. Freedom. I don’t think I was meant for the polo and the 9 to 5. I don’t walk other people’s lines, and I love tattooing. It’s the only thing that slows down all the bad things that happen, all the good things that happen. No matter what, as soon as I start, it’s complete focus. I get to convey anybody’s ideas, dreams, anything at all. I get to turn it into art and listen to my favorite tracks or their favorite music. I get to learn so much about people. It’s incredible. I love it and loathe it at the same time. It gets heavy. People lose people and memorialize them. People have children and memorialize them. It’s a spectrum. But I get to be part of it all. I get to be a kid with a coloring book again. It’s a coloring book with a pulse, and my flowers never wilt.”
– Justin Phillips, Owner, Saloon13

Patty Abrigo-Naidenoff, Integrated Therapeutic Healing

“I have been a physical therapist going on 25 years. It was probably about 10 years into my career, I saw healthcare in general was just going down a path that was being run by insurance companies. It wasn’t really about what was best for patients. I started getting burnt out seeing people who didn’t necessarily want the help and they were just there because they were told they had to do it. I was just frustrated with not getting the type of people who really cared about their health and wellness. I decided to try to venture out on my own. Looking at my schedule now, every single person is someone I want to see and someone who wants to see me or someone on my staff. I just went to a retirement party for an old colleague of mine. Although it made me miss the people that I worked with, it helped me remember why I left the traditional medical system 5 years ago. One of the things I don’t miss is having to deal with productivity. When I was working in the traditional system, there was a certain expectation of how many patients I needed to see in a day. I was seeing the same amount of patients within two days that I see in over a week now. I create my own schedule based on what my patients’ need, not what I am being told I have to do to be productive. Especially in a small community like Norwalk, I would suggest new business owners get out there and network. Find other like-minded professionals in their industry that can help them, mentor them, and give them guidance. In my particular industry of health and wellness, being able to work together and collaborate has really helped me be successful. It’s also finding those people that you can trust and are credible and believe in the same philosophies to be able to work with you for the betterment of those you serve.”
– Patty Abrigo-Naidenoff, Owner, Integrated Therapeutic Healing

Amanda Morsher-Hewitt, Patina46

“I worked in the interior design industry in Columbus for 6 ½ years and eventually started thinking about going off on my own. I really didn’t know much about owning my own business, or a retail shop for that matter. We came across this building on Norwalk’s Main Street and I thought, oh my gosh, this building has such great bones, and I could just envision doing something special with it. My family ended up purchasing it, we spent nine months doing renovations, and the rest is history. When I worked at the firm in Columbus, we worked on clients’ homes all over the country. It sometimes felt like a dream that I was traveling to all of these amazing places because I was just an entry level designer at the time. Design was something I fell in love with and I’m really passionate about it. I’ve often been asked why I left such a great position; the short answer is while I was living in Columbus my Grandmother passed away unexpectedly. So after much thought, I just felt it was time to move closer to my family after living in the big city for twelve years. I’m ready to make a go of interior design full time again; I’m gaining more clients and I have a couple of large scale projects in the works right now. I think these projects are really going to showcase what I can do for clients. My goal is to hire an assistant one day because that’s how I got my start. Getting your foot in the door somewhere isn’t easy right after college. But I’d love to mentor someone, especially since my mentor in Columbus was so great. I’ve worked on projects on Kelley’s Island, Columbus, Florida, Napa Valley, Aspen, Tennessee, and even worked on two new builds in the Bahamas. I want people to know that I can do a high level of work and design. Being an entrepreneur and working for yourself can be overwhelming at times. You just have to take the leap. It’s scary and it’s not for everyone, but I’m lucky to have such a great support system with my family and just so thankful that I am able to work for myself and create beautiful spaces for my clients.”
– Amanda Morsher-Hewitt, Owner, PATINA46