This Former Retail Employee is Now Her Own Boss

heather hilliard

Have you ever loved your job so much that you just decided to buy the company?

For one former employee, Heather Hilliard, now owner of Bay City, TX-based Health Food Cottage, that’s exactly what happened.

In January 2015, she purchased the vitamin and specialty grocer after the owner put it up for sale. But Hilliard never had aspirations to be an entrepreneur. Something just felt right about this entrepreneurial opportunity. And, Hilliard recalls, she loved her job so much, the thought of finding another one just didn’t sit right.

“When I knew he was going to sell, it kinda made me start thinking,” she says. “The more I started thinking about it, the happier I got. It was actually a pretty easy decision.”

In addition to vitamins, Hilliard’s store sells gluten-free and organic grocery items. She also rents out space to a cajun restaurant.

When taking over, Hilliard knew she had to make a major upgrade. But it wasn’t with her merchandise.

store

Health Food Cottage, located south of Houston, sells vitamins and groceries. The business recently switched to NCR Silver, and has taken advantage of the Silver Concierge service.

After researching other POS systems, she decided on NCR Silver. Immediately, she took full advantage of the Silver Concierge service, which offers personalized back office set up, assistance and monthly menu maintenance.

Working with the Silver Concierge team

Having just used an old-fashioned register, Hilliard and her Health Food Cottage staff had to be trained on how to use a tablet POS system. She’s been texting with her agent, Tia, and others, for weeks now.

“The first time I had questions, I did it via chat,” Hilliard says. “They answered all my questions simply and immediately. Most of my questions involved inventory. But I also had printer group questions and little things like how to enter a vendor name.”

She’s also used the live 24/7 customer support.

“Every time I talk with someone, they are super,” Hilliard says. “The staff is knowledgable, patient, and I feel as if I’ve been well-trained on the system.”

Chain competition has little impact

The business, located southwest of Houston, has been around for decades. Still, Hilliard says, there’s “nothing like it in the area.”

The town recently got a chain vitamin store, but that didn’t impact her business, she says, due to the personalized touch her employees provide. That kind of service has been appreciated by customers, especially with issues as complicated as personal health and vitamins.

“Our staff is very knowledgable,” she says. “People feel very special coming in.”

As for expansion plans, she doesn’t have any. But a year and a half ago, she had no plans on being a business owner, either.

“It works really well,” Hilliard says. “It’s not broken, so I’m not going to fix it. Who knows what the future holds, though.”

 

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