Join in on a conversation about business and community during the state shutdown between Jim Shaffer of Jim Shaffer and Associates and Chris & Tiffany Best, owners of The Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, MI.
Jim Shaffer is a HUGE fan of The Rust Belt Market and its owners Chris & Tiffany Best. As a Woodward Corridor resident, Jim has spent quite a bit of time at the market supporting its local vendors. It was important to Jim to start our Community Conversations Series off with this one! Jim admires that Chris & Tiffany are entrepreneurs who are giving other entrepreneurs a shot.
The trajectory of The Best’s and The Rust Belt Market was not traditional. They did not come from a deep business background, they were working in landscaping and construction. Chris says “We just kind of went to the school of hard knocks”. What they did know is that they were not getting ahead.
Tiffany was working at Flip Salon in Downtown Ferndale sweeping hair. She drove by what used to be Old Navy and was then a big empty space. Initially, Chris thought it was far too big and expensive, but the landlord was “desperate enough” to give them a great deal to test their concept! Chris’ dad dipped into his savings and they started the Rustbelt with $25,000. Because Chris was working in building and construction, he was able to do a lot of the buildout, like the awesome signs, on his own.
During the 2020 Covid19 quarantine, they had to work diligently with their event space clients on postponing instead of cancelling. They are looking into the future to be able to have a schedule for events that needed to be temporarily cancelled. Tiffany is “hopeful that people will still want to come together”, not seeing the hospitalitiy industry going away.
Tiffany & Chris are most concerned about their individual vendors during the shut down. They link to each makers online shop via their main site. Supporting the really small makers and artists right now, these folks don’t have a cash flow cushion. It’s their goal to help those vendors be ready and able to come back to the market. They have been working at helping their vendor partners move to an online world to be able to sell through the shutdown.
**UPDATE** As of 6/13/2020 The Rust Belt Market is open again on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00-4:00!