HANNIBAL — Barb Crane started working on a janitorial team the summer she turned 12.
She quickly found out that if she brought the guys on the team Hostess cakes then they would do her cleaning while playing hide-and-go-seek.
Crane said she learned two things that summer: people aren’t always motivated by money, and that you can have fun at your job.
The owner of Powder Room, the Traveler’s Rooming House and the Traveler’s Boutique, Crane shared her story Wednesday evening at Cave Hollow West Winery as part of the monthly Ignite event, “How I Built It: Entrepreneurial Storytelling”.
Crane gave the crowd encouragement in their failures. She explained that life took a turn for her through divorce and financial loss, she learned how to be resourceful.
On a bicycle, due to the lack of a car, she picked up house cleaning for extra work while working in a salon as a nail tech.
“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.”
In the five years she was there, Crane worked her way up to management and married a farmer in Philadelphia, Mo., which led to her visit downtown Hannibal where she eventually opened the Powder Room and The Traveler’s Rooming House and most recently, The Travelers Boutique.
The Travelers Boutique is a gift shop whose grand opening is May 7.
This Ignite event was sponsored three other local business owners including Charlie Phillips, owner of the Quarry House; 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’s known as Hannibal’s southside.
Charles Phillips discussed the long process of refurbishing the 1902 home and transforming it into an Airbnb. Phillips said that planning and sticking to that plan was the most important part, especially after the pandemic hit.
“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 reaching out to others was a key to success.
Erin Kelley is a professional actress known in Hannibal for her role as Molly Brown, and is the founder and artistic director of Gilded Age Stage.
Kelley said that while her business model as an actress is quite different from other businesses, the stories shared by the speakers resonated with her.
“Some of those themes talked about tonight run through any kind of business,” she said.
Live theater has especially taken a hard hit through pandemic shutdowns, and Kelley reiterated that being resourceful, multitasking and networking is an important part of business. She also said that with changing circumstances and interest, flexibility is also important.
“Adapting, reaching out, and being resourceful, that’s something I related to coming from a rural community,” she said.
Kelley said the meeting introduced her to many people, and she is looking forward to attending the next one.
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