HANNIBAL – Barb Crane started working on a janitorial team the summer she turned 12.
She quickly discovered that if she brought cakes to the guys from the hostess team, they would clean her up while playing hide and seek.
Crane said she learned two things that summer: people aren’t always driven by money and that you can have fun at work.
Owner of Powder Room, Traveler’s Rooming House and Traveler’s Boutique, Crane shared her story Wednesday night at Cave Hollow West Winery as part of Ignite’s monthly event, “How I Built It: Entrepreneurial Storytelling.”
Crane encouraged the crowd in their failures. She explained that life had taken a turn for her because of the divorce and financial losses, she had learned to be resourceful.
By bike, for lack of a car, she cleaned for extra work while working in a salon as a nail technician.
“I just kept my head down, learned and paid attention,” she said. “I never looked at what they did wrong – I just looked at what they did right and put it in the back of my mind.”
During the five years she was there, Crane rose through the ranks to executive and married a farmer in Philadelphia, Missouri, which led her to visit downtown Hannibal where she eventually opened the traveler’s powder room and rooming house and more recently, the travellers. Shop.
La Boutique des Voyageurs is a gift shop whose grand opening is May 7th.
This Ignite event was sponsored by three other local business owners, including Quarry House owner Charlie Phillips; JR Bareis, owner of Tigerhawk Technologies; and Austin Curry and Todd Curry, owners of the Mark Twain Cave Complex.
Charles and Laurel Phillips also recently opened The Quarry House in what is known as Hannibal’s South Side.
Charles Phillips spoke about the long process of renovating the 1902 house and transforming it into an Airbnb. Phillips said planning and sticking to that plan was the most important part, especially post-pandemic.
“It took a lot of stress and worry away because you knew what the next steps were, or even two and three,” he said.
Phillips also said networking and communicating with others was key to success.
Erin Kelley is a professional actress known on Hannibal for her role as Molly Brown, and is the founder and artistic director of Gilded Age Stage.
Kelley said that although her business model as an actress is quite different from other businesses, the stories shared by the speakers touched her.
“Some of these themes tonight run through any type of business,” she said.
Live theater has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic shutdowns, and Kelley reiterated that resourcefulness, multitasking and networking are an important part of doing business. She also said that with changing circumstances and interests, flexibility is also important.
“Adapting, reaching out and being resourceful is something I associate with coming from a rural community,” she said.
Kelley said the reunion introduced her to a lot of people and she can’t wait to attend the next one.