Molly Egbert has owned Tin Roof boutique in Princeton for 13 years, but the store has been in her family for nearly two decades.
"I've always worked there," said Egbert, 36, a Princeton native. "My mother opened it when I was a senior in high school and I was an employee until I purchased it in 2007."
The store, 500 E. Main St., originated from a love of crafts, beginning as a business that sold homemade soaps and painted furniture. It now offers home decor, jewelry, clothes, and purses, among other inventory.
"Business has always been good," Egbert said. "We now have a really large social media following that draws a lot of people from surrounding areas in as well as the local community."
But there have been several challenges along the way, she conceded, including some today.
"One of the biggest challenges is staying relevant to the consumer," Egbert said. "There is so much online business as our competition and we try to stay competitive with that."
As customer incentives, Tin Roof offers free gifts with purchases, free gift wrapping, and in-store help for customers trying to find the perfect gift.
Egbert is also preparing for expansion: a second Tin Roof location is slated for a grand opening Thursday through Oct. 30 on Broadbent Square in Cadiz.
"We have 19 people of staff between the two locations," she said. "We always knew we wanted to grow and have more than one location, we had just been looking for the right direction to go in and kept praying about it."
"I hope that all of our local customers will come and support the second location and I hope that we can reach a whole new base of customers for both stores."
The people and friendships Egbert has made along the way have made owning a business worthwhile, she said.
"I've got a group of staff members that are as close as family could be," Egbert said. "They are more than just employees -- they are my best friends and sisters."
Egbert and her staff also form bonds with customers. Being a family-centric business is important at Tin Roof, and the owner believes the approach carries over in other ways in the community.
"We bring in so many people from out of town that then in turn go to other places in Princeton," Egbert said. "They consume other products throughout Caldwell County."
The store also stays involved in the community through Youth Incorporated and local churches.
"I couldn't be doing this without the Lord," Egbert said. "I give Him all the glory and all the credit. He put this dream in my heart and has given me the strength and the stamina to achieve it.
"My husband (Brian), three children (Cruz, Elin Maiz and Tripp) and my mother-in-law (Leslie Egbert) have been huge support systems."
Leslie, in particular, has been a big influence spiritually, physically and mentally. Egbert also credits her father, Steve Boaz.
She has advice for anyone wanting to start their own business someday.
"Take your time and follow your heart," she said. "Don't rush or make quick decisions.
"We've wanted our second location for years but we've been able to do everything we've wanted to do because we've slowly grown to this capacity."