Zelda Smith, owner and operator of First Impressions Foundation just opened her doors for business in Punta Gorda this past November. The money she makes selling merchandise from her store will be for her foundation that helps kids in our community. “After I pay rent, and what it costs to run the store, the rest of the revenue will go to the foundation I started to help students,” said Smith.

The mission of the foundation is to build positive self esteem that supports and strengthens the opportunities of diversity through education, said Smith.

Q.) When did you open your business?

A.) November 23rd.

Q.) What has changed since you opened?

A.) I have gotten to meet some really great people and had some very nice donations as well. I do need more men’s clothing if anyone has some things to donate.

Q.) How many employees do you have?

A.) It is just me here.

Q.) What is your most popular item?

A.) Everyone seems to love the shoes I have to sell. Our purses are popular as well.

Q.) What’s the hardest part about your business?

A.) Juggling my time between this job and I also have another job. I am trying to spread out my time but it is challenging. I could really use some volunteers to help out sometimes.

Q.) What sets you apart from other businesses?

A.) Well, I don’t know many businesses that all their proceeds after expenses go to helping kids in the community.

Q.) What advice do you have for someone just starting a business?

A.) Having a business of your own takes up a lot of time and energy so make sure you know what your getting yourself into. And don’t take disappointment personally...your vision may not be someone else’s.

Q.) What’s the future hold for your business?

A.) Hopefully a good donation base and some much needed volunteers.

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