When Judy Banfield first created her “fiction novel” business plan, she never dreamed that 20 years later she would be a successful business owner in Nelson’s downtown core.
But the owner of Mountain Baby on Baker Street has enjoyed a steady climb to success since she first opened her shop, called Comfort and Joy, in a small “sliver” of a space on Ward Street — a space she quickly outgrew.
“At that time it was so hard to get spaces. We waited and waited to get that space and then we waited and waited to get another space,” she said.
Banfield switched to a retail store after first running a little home-based business.
“I was selling baby slings and breast pumps because you could not get them anywhere.”
She, along with her now ex-husband, decided to move the business forward.
“None of us had any idea what we were doing. No business background. My first business plan was like a fiction novel. It was such a fantasy, so outlandish.”
But she was so clear in her vision of what experience she wanted the customers and the children to have, she has turned that fantasy into reality.
As the business continued to expand, the shop moved again. Eight years ago, she moved into her present shop. It was at that time Banfield decided to change the company name to Mountain Baby.
“I wanted the name of the business to reflect the town more. I decided I wanted to focus more on getting families outdoors and there really was nothing like that in town.”
Focusing on a back-to-nature theme, she started to bring in snowshoes, skis, backpacks and other outdoor wear and supplies designed for children.
Looking back, Banfield said she never expected to be in business for two decades.
“I didn’t even think that far ahead. I couldn’t even imagine it.”
She said hitting the 20-year milestone was a shock.
“I thought ‘Wow, that’s a long time. That’s a lot of my life that I’ve been doing this.”’
Last Thursday, as part of her 20th anniversary celebration, Banfield hosted the monthly Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Business event.
A large crowd of local business people attended the socializing event, to both network and congratulate Mountain Baby on its success.