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The Deal: ALICIA AUSTIN IS THE OWNER OF MADELINE RUTH
SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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EDUCATION: Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, and a few years at Mary Washington.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? In middle school I wanted to be a lawyer, and then I went through my doctor phase. More recently, after I got my bill from the dentist, I thought that would be a good choice. But realistically, I think I just want to own Madeline Ruth.
FIRST JOB: Selling admission tickets at the Natural Bridge gift shop.
WORST JOB: My summers home from school working at the local carpet factory. The job was very repetitive and monotonous, but the simplest mistake could be very costly to the company.
HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING MADELINE RUTH? Almost accidentally. I was jogging downtown after moving back to Fredericksburg in 2009 and saw this building for rent. I was curious to see how much the rent was in the downtown area so I called the number, and the next thing I knew I was signing a lease. Having a background in retail and some experience in consignment, I thought it would be a fun shop to open and a nice addition to downtown Fredericksburg.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH NOW? Every day there is a challenge when you own a small business. Specifically though, I would like to grow the business enough so that I could hire new employees.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR JOB? Nothing. I love my job.
WHO WAS YOUR HERO AS A CHILD, AND WHO IS TODAY? All the Austin men, my dad my grandfather and my uncle and they still are.
WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR? WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE HE OR SHE EVER GAVE YOU? My dad. He taught me to be a good person, to make good decisions, and always do the best I can.
WHAT ARE THE BEST LOCAL RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES SEEKING ASSISTANCE IN GETTING STARTED OR EXPANDING? The University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center has great resources to help small business owners.
WHAT BUSINESS BOOK DO YOU MOST RECOMMEND? WHY? I've never read a business book and probably never will.
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Provide a description of the business, how long it's operated, its location, contact information, Web site and why the owner should be featured.
The Free Lance-Star's coverage of area businesses in The Deal does not mean that the newspaper is endorsing any particular business.