"When the opportunity presented itself, it just seemed like the next piece to the puzzle," stated Margaret Krause, local Lakeland business owner of the recently opened Monkee's boutique. Monkee's is a nationally franchised boutique that sells high-quality clothing and accessories.
Before becoming a local business owner, Margaret’s professional journey started with her graduation from the University of Florida, where she obtained a Master's degree in elementary education. She began teaching in Lakeland at Lincoln Avenue Academy, but later transitioned into becoming a full-time mother. Her passion for education and teaching didn’t stop there, as she eventually earned a Ph.D. in Literacy Studies at the University of South Florida. Her specialization included a focus on children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. She spent 11 years preparing preservice teachers to teach reading to elementary children. It was during COVID that Margaret realized just how much she cherished those in person interactions with her students.
Teaching online and not having those person-to-person interactions created obstacles for Margaret, causing a shift in her attention away from teaching. During the rise of social media usage in 2020, she stumbled upon social media posts that showed a few of her friends opening up a franchise, Monkee's, in the Orlando market. After watching their engagement with the franchise she thought about how brave these women were, to go out and become local business owners! This interaction led Margaret to start imagining herself in that position, eventually letting the inspiration take over, thereby opening up the possibility of owning her own Monkee's location.
When focusing on what helped Margaret move forward with her idea, it was all about having a strong support system. When Margaret had just graduated from college, her brother, at the young age of 19, passed due to lymphoma. This ultimately led to her moving back home from UF after graduation. Being back at home after college hadn't been her plan, but it was here that she and her family were able to be a part of a strong support system, setting that foundation in place.
Through the process of applying to be a franchise owner, Margaret had experienced a lot of support from Monkee’s Franchising LLC, spending many hours on the phone with questions and steps as she considered this large undertaking as a new business owner. Growing up in Lakeland, she knew how strong her community was, and saw the need for a high-quality boutique. Margaret knew Lakeland would be a great place to choose for her new endeavors as she continued through the process, step by step.
One of those steps in the process was exploring the possibility of an SBA loan. "I’ve heard terrible stories about going through the process of obtaining an SBA. Yet, one of Bank of Central Florida's Community Relationship Managers, April Platter, encouraged me to learn more about it." It wasn't long after speaking with April that Margaret connected with SBA Executive, Kevin Riffey, who had this to say on working with Margaret: “Working with entrepreneurs is what makes SBA lending exciting. They have a vision for their business and we play a role in helping that vision become reality. Margaret was very focused about what she wanted to accomplish in opening a Monkees boutique in her hometown. She put together an organized plan and we worked closely with her to finance her dream.”
Kevin has stated previously that almost all small businesses would be a good fit for an SBA loan, and could, overall, really benefit from one. “Bank of Central Florida is a good place to get an SBA loan because our SBA team has decades of experience processing these loans. Additionally, because we are a community bank, all underwriting, decision making and processing is done locally. We’re able to move faster than most lenders who have layers of bureaucracy.”
Margaret praised Bank of Central Florida’s SBA team members that assisted and led her through the entire process. She overall appreciated the clarity on documentation and the transparent next steps, especially as a new business owner.
As of 2022, Margaret has opened her Monkee's location and has officially ventured into her newest chapter as a local business owner. She’s also excited to find that she can obtain the same person-to-person interactions with her clients, that she loved while teaching. In a way, she also gets to use those teaching skills to invest in her staff and watch them grow.
To check out her new store, go to https://monkeesoflakeland.com or visit in person at 2514 S Florida Ave, Lakeland, FL 33803.
Are you interested in learning about whether an SBA Loan is right for you and your business? Connect with one of our SBA Development Officers today.
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