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Meet Michelle Kearney of Simply Local in North Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Kearney.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in Studio Art, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be doing. I decided to go on a three-month-long, work-exchange road trip across the United States and ended up in San Diego. As I explored more and more different fields of work, I felt more strongly pulled towards sustainability, which is when I discovered Simply Local.

I was inspired by the sustainability behind a flourishing community of local vendors and started as a sales associate. I quickly saw Simply Local’s potential for growth and development and pushed towards that in whatever role I was in, offering structural support and adaptation where necessary. One year later I found myself the manager, and have been happily moving into new areas of development for us ever since.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have definitely been some bumps along the way, but those were also the most exciting parts. Having joined Simply Local when it was such a young company, I have seen it through several large growth spurts. This meant that rapid restructuring and decision making needed to happen on the fly within the constraints of a small business’ budget.

This has been a challenging, rewarding, and wonderful set of problems to face. I am very grateful to the blossoming community of San Diego artisans and interested shoppers that have given such life and growth to this movement.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Simply Local story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a merchant marketplace that currently houses over 70 local San Diego County companies. By providing lower-cost, lower-risk opportunities to small companies for having a brick-and-mortar shopping location in the middle of high-traffic North Park, we hope to boost their business, growth, and connection to a community of conscientious and informed customers.

For our customers, we provide simplified access to quality local goods and companies that will directly impact their San Diego economy. We are proud to be creating opportunities for local jobs, company growth, and economic support while raising awareness about the importance of shopping local.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think that luck is mostly a matter of perception, but maybe that is because I have had mostly good luck. Either way, there are definitely things outside of my control that has fallen into place in terms of time and place for my initial hiring, as well as all the little steps along the way.

Overall, it has definitely been a mixture of hard work and maximizing the good luck that did come my way that has worked best for me.

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