Grosgrain Ribbon and Rural Development

Fort Scott Kansas isn’t a hotbed of economic activity, but innovative people find ways to run successful businesses regardless of where they are located. Hairbow Center is an example of that type of innovation. The owners started out selling custom hairbow ribbon designs on eBay, but it didn’t take them long to find that getting good supplies was very difficult. After trying a number of suppliers they finally decided that there was a much bigger need for quality grosgrain ribbon and other bow making supplies. They located some quality overseas ribbon suppliers and then took a leap of faith by ordering enough to fill a shipping container.

It turned out to be a good investment as customers flocked to the website to buy grosgrain ribbons, bow making hardware, and bow making embellishments ranging from bottle caps to rhinestones. From the humble beginnings in the family basement, the enterprise has grown to a 6,500 sq foot warehouse full of ribbon, clips and other bow supplies. The website services around 100 customers per day and fulfilling the demand requires seven employees.

While quality grosgrain ribbon seems an unlikely business for Fort Scott Kansas, Hairbow center has been able to take advantage of the inexpensive land and labor of rural America to grow a thriving business meeting a significant need among bow makers. They aren’t standing still either. The Hairbow Center site now contains a number of exclusive custom designed print patterns and even some custom ribbon types manufactured exclusively for Hairbow Center.

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