Established in 2012 in Coleraine, Hope and Gloria is a community enterprise vintage themed lifestyle store with a coffee shop selling fashion, furniture, homewares and accessories.
It is operated by Causeway Coast Vineyard with profits supporting charities at home and overseas. Stephanie Houston is the new manager of Hope & Gloria and is transforming the store into something much more than a place to buy something special or to drink coffee. She wants to create a space that causes customers to dream and be inspired and only 6 months in her new role, she is already seeing this dream come true in the local community.
While Stephanie brought significant experience in the retail sector and was not a stranger to leading in business, but taking over the role of manager at Hope & Gloria came with a specific set of challenges. She said: “I wanted to become more confident and effective as new leader and manager, so I registered for the Lead2Grow programme to understand how my leadership experience in one sector could transfer to the very different not for profit sector“.
The biggest challenge in growing the store was building a larger team of reliable volunteers- who are not easy to find! She said, after Lead2Grow: “I came away more confident and I believed I could build the business and improve profitability”. Knowing the store would not operate without sound financial management, Stephanie also received mentoring to improve her knowledge of financial systems relevant to the business model of Hope & Gloria. She said: “the biggest impact we have seen has been simplifying the process for monthly management reporting, which gives me more time to work on the business”.
Testimony to the success of this story so far is the Hope and Gloria ‘Story Jar’ filled with customer dreams come true. This small but powerful gesture is building a sense of belonging in the community. But, more than a dream, her leadership purpose has become a unique selling point for the future success of the store!