Upstate Threads: A Boutique Shop Thrives with Funding from Pursuit

Lauren Tampe, owner of Upstate Threads

Photo credits: Shauna Zurowski, SLZ Photography

The joy that Lauren Tampe experiences while perusing boutique shops – discovering items she loves, trying them on, and getting personalized attention and help – inspired Upstate Threads, her Pittsford, NY-based women’s clothing and specialty-goods store. Today, her brick-and-mortar shop is thriving, as is her online store. Here’s how a SmartLoan and line of credit from Pursuit are helping Lauren grow her business.

Identifying a market opportunity is the basis of success

“My husband is in the army and when we lived in the Southeast, I loved how inviting and exciting the local shopping districts were,” Lauren says, explaining that communities of unique, locally owned shops made the experience very enjoyable. “When we moved back to the Rochester area, I saw an opportunity to replicate this.”

With an education in finance and experience traveling as a flight attendant, Lauren combined her experiences and instincts to develop Upstate Threads. While her dream was always to open a brick-and-mortar shop, the pandemic broke out as business plans were underway. She pivoted by starting with an online store instead.

“I leveraged social media to grow online,” she says, “and that became a great way to test the market and to learn if my instincts and style were on track.”

That was in June 2020 and by the fall of 2020, Lauren was exploring the next step – a brick-and-mortar shop. Her social-media presence led to a great connection – a like-minded entrepreneur who also wanted to open a specialty shop in Pittsford featuring children’s clothing and goods, called Chicke.

They agreed to share a space and opened in the fall of 2020. Now, less than three years later, the children’s shop is expanding to another storefront while Upstate Threads takes over the full retail store.

Finding a lender to support growth

While the online and onsite businesses are both growing, Lauren says it’s the brick-and-mortar space that drives revenue.

“While an online option is convenient, people still love the hands-on retail experience,” she explains. Providing unique, one-of-a-kind pieces while maintaining quality and integrity, are what she takes pride in; however, this brings its fair share of challenges.

“In the fashion industry, you need the financial capacity to order inventory ahead or you lose out on seasonal sales – and keeping up with customer demand is another challenge. I needed working capital to leverage opportunities, including bringing in new brands and staying ahead of the trends. That’s what motivated me to seek a small business loan,” Lauren says.

Her first step was to reach out to her commercial bank, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust. Although Lauren’s business didn’t meet her bank’s lending criteria, they offered invaluable help by recommending that Lauren reach out to Pursuit for financing.

Soon, Lauren and Pursuit Vice President of Business Development Jim Bilotta were working together to get Upstate Threads the financing needed to succeed.

Financing options to meet all of Upstate Thread’s needs

After reviewing the business’s financials and Lauren’s plans for growth, Jim helped Upstate Threads move forward with not one, but two avenues for financing: A Pursuit SmartLoan and a line of credit. Together, these options provide Lauren with the working capital she needs while also enabling her to refinance existing business debt with beneficial terms.

“Working with Jim and Pursuit has been great,” Lauren says. She describes the process as easy, low-stress, and helpful. “Whenever I had questions or needed help, Jim was ready and responsive. And Pursuit’s online portal for documents made the process really efficient. I had funds in-hand from the SmartLoan about three weeks after I first contacted Pursuit and the line of credit was available within a month.”

Today, Upstate Threads has two employees along with Lauren and is well-positioned for the busy late-summer/early fall buying season, bringing new styles and brands to her clientele. She’s also thrilled to be part of Pittsford’s creative and growing small business community.

Pursuit helps small business owners get the financing you need

“Small business loans are essential to building success, but you need to find the right lender. Many, like my bank, want to help but might not be able to. I’m so glad they recommended Pursuit; it has been an excellent experience! And when you get financing to bring your vision to fruition, it offers next-level credibility to your dream,” Lauren says.

Pursuit offers more than 15 small business loans and a line of credit for small businesses throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Explore our financing options, then contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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