My Sweet Angel: A business born ‘at the right time’
Celebrating the ribbon cutting of My Sweet Angel in downtown Jefferson City are, front row from left, Tommy Bible, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce incoming chair; Steve Vann, Paul Zatloukal Vann and Stephanie Vann, owners; Abby Earley, Caylek Vann, Greg Vann, Gail West, Chamber board member; Daryle Keck, 2013 Chamber board chair and Don Cason, Chamber president. Back row from left, Chad Ballinger, Chamber board member; Christine Fike, owner of Tickle Me Turquoise; Mark Potts, Jefferson City Mayor; Dr. Kina Mallard, Chamber board member; Spencer Jones, owner of The Creek Café, and Chamber board members Dr. John Zirkle and Dale Gentry.
The cheery yellow walls of the newly renovated store front in downtown Jefferson City are good signs that Stephanie Vann has gotten what she’s wanted for a long while.
The brick and mortar opening of her online baby specialty business, My Sweet Angel, came about because it was finally “the right place at the right time,” according to Vann.
Her husband, Paul Zatloukal Vann, remodeled the interior space at 104 East Old Andrew Johnson Hwy., including new framing around the large front windows, custom display pieces and a lot of cheery paint.
“He did a wonderful job,” Stephanie said.
The couple announced the store’s opening on Dec. 3 with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
Mixed in with businesses along Main Street, including The Creek Café and the recently opened Tickle Me Turquoise, the My Sweet Angel store offers Stephanie’s selections of what’s best for baby.
Items range from everyday products, like nursing supplies, blankets, strollers, nursery decor and bottle warmers, to the not-so-everyday category that includes belly cast kits and a pedal John Deere tractor.
The store carries diaper bags that look like upscale totes and bibs with quotes that include: “photo with baby 50 cents.”
Items are displayed in limited quantities at the store, but Stephanie can honor customer requests and have the items delivered quickly. The online version of the business has been going strong since 2007. Stephanie also ran a bedding web-based business, but when My Sweet Angel began growing strong, she decided to focus on all things baby.
The decision to establish a physical presence in Jefferson City was a two-fold one. Stephanie wanted to be a visible part of her home town, and she knew her store would be unique to the retail community.
“We’ve never had anything like this, a business totally devoted to baby,” she said.
Stephanie joined the Jefferson County Chamber even before the building was ready for customers — “It was one of the first things in my marketing budget,” she said.
Her bachelor’s degree in marketing has helped Stephanie grow her business and understand the necessity for a small business to get its name and mission out into the community.
And, since timing is everything, Stephanie will be able to pick out a few of her favorite things from the store to prepare for her own sweet angel, due in June 2014. The couple also has a son, Caylek.
-By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer