Rapid Reconnect: A Q & A with Cellar Door Preserves owner and founder Zenobia Taylor-Weiss

To kickoff the Rapid Reconnect series, we’re checking in with Zenobia Taylor-Weiss, owner of Cellar Door Preserves. She reflects on operating during the pandemic and shares her hopes for what’s to come.

Rapid Growth: When we last spoke, Cellar Door Preserves was in its new Creston location and you were working to connect female entrepreneurs. How have things progressed since then? 

Zenobia Taylor-Weiss: The pandemic has put the woman entrepreneur project on the backburner but we're hoping to get everything back together and reconnect early [this year]. Cellar Door is still working out of our kitchen in Creston, and we love it! We recently launched a Biscuit + Coffee + Jam window at our kitchen. Things will get a bit more official with that [this year], but right now I'd recommend stopping by on a Saturday morning to get an incredible buttermilk biscuit paired with one of our preserves.

RG: What new challenges have presented themselves and how have you been able to address them? 

ZTW: Before COVID-19 we did a lot of in-person shows and sales. We did almost none this [past] year —  only one [show] in March right before the lockdown. I was really afraid that this would be a huge blow to our revenue, but we continued to vend at the farmers market and then we participated in some virtual shows. It definitely wasn't the year we'd planned on, but having to make sales in new ways stretched us and now we're not as dependant on in-person sales as we once were, although we miss them a lot!

RG: What unexpected wins did you have in 2020? 

ZTW: Our wholesale accounts exploded. It's been really great to pivot a little more to a business-to-business model during this time when selling directly to consumers is so difficult.

RG: What is one call-to-action you would give to fellow female business owners right now? 

ZTW: Persevere. The pandemic has been incredibly hard on women, especially mothers. I'm hopeful that things are getting better. My call-to-action is to just hang on a little longer to your business and dream.

RG: What do you hope to see in the next three to six months?  

ZTW: Grand Rapids has always had an awesome base of folks who support local businesses. I saw that increase during the pandemic [and] I really hope this trend continues. There are so many incredible people in this city and I hope all of the small independent businesses are able to flourish.

About Leandra Nisbet: Leandra Nisbet, Owner of Stingray Advisory Group LLC and Co-Owner of Brightwork Marine LLC, has over 15 years of experience in leadership, sales & marketing, and graphic design. She helps businesses grow and assists with: strategic planning, marketing concept development/implementation, risk management, and financial organization. She is actively involved in the community, sitting on several Boards and committees, and has been recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 Business Leaders in Grand Rapids.

Contact Leandra Nisbet by email at [email protected]!
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