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Newer Shawano business offers unique opportunity for young entrepreneurs

Young women in Shawano are getting the chance to start their businesses under one roof. The goal is to become so successful that they go out on their own.
The Blend offers a number of products like clothing and handmade goods.
Posted at 3:45 AM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 10:14:12-05

SHAWANO (NBC 26) — Starting a new business under normal circumstances is stressful for any young entrepreneur, but Alex Hartwig has an idea that's taking off in Shawano, and she says it's only getting better.

Most young entrepreneurs put their plans on hold during the Coronavirus pandemic, but that didn't stop Hartwig from opening The Blend on Main Street.

The Blend opened its doors in July to women who were looking to get their first brick and mortar experience as a business owner. Hartwig says she had a successful career in health care, but she wanted to try something new that gave her an opportunity to be more flexible, and that's why The Blend was born.

Hartwig says she started with 14 women, and The Blend has already grown to 19 business owners. She says the goal is to get them established so they can eventually go out on their own.

"It sounds silly is that's the goal is for them to move out, but I want to create growth in the Shawano area. The downtown is just booming. I want these women to open up their own store in Shawano," Hartwig said.

Hartwig said two of her vendors have already been able to go out on their own, and she's had to expand the building twice since opening.

She says the best part of this idea is that all women dedicate aportion of their earnings to non-profit groups in Shawano to give back to a community that has supported them.