Business owners push through pandemic to open new stores

Business owners push through pandemic to open new stores

MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - Two businesses are bringing unique concepts to downtown Moultrie.

The owner of one of these businesses isn’t even a teenager yet.

12-year-old Hallie Whitley is now a business owner.

After helping her grandmother with a monogramming business, she found her passion for clothes and accessories too.

“I’d always come up to the store with her every day, and we’d just have fun so I wanted to do it with her,” said Whitley.

With help from her grandmother, Annabelle Stone, and Hallie opened up her boutique, “Hallie’s Place” downtown.

Hallie Whitley, Owner, Hallie's Place & Annabelle Stone, Hallie's Place Employee
Hallie Whitley, Owner, Hallie's Place & Annabelle Stone, Hallie's Place Employee (Source: WALB)

“We’ve got regular clothes and plus size clothes. Home decor, accessories, jewelry, and a little bit of food. And then we’ve got the monogramming and embroidery,” said Stone.

Originally planning to open in March, COVID-19 set their opening day back a few months, but Stone told us they were recently able to finish everything within a few weeks.

Whitley told us she’s excited to see her business grow.

“I really want a lot of people to come, and for it to get really big. And for a lot of people to like it,” said Whitley.

Just on the other side of downtown stands the new Canela location--a snack bar with shakes, smoothies, and food from Central America, the U.S. and South America.

Business Owners Push Through Pandemic to Open New Stores
Business Owners Push Through Pandemic to Open New Stores (Source: WALB)

Even though one international food and snack bar is already in Moultrie, they’re bringing even more selections.

Now, after opening in 2018 in another area of town, they're expanding into the heart of downtown.

“We just wanted a snack bar that was very quick, with simple things. It expanded in like six months,” said Emmanuel Torres, owner of Canela.

Emmanuel Torres, Canela Owner
Emmanuel Torres, Canela Owner (Source: WALB)

Torres told us because of the smaller area, they decided to move to larger space to accommodate a number of things including additions to their menu.

“More variety to our ice-creams, shakes, and smoothies. What we’re trying to bring into the menu is breakfast but with a twist. Not something you can get from a fast-food restaurant. It’s something more homemade and different,” said Torres.

He said as COVID-19 hit the area, his accounting and entrepreneur background made things a lot easier for their existing location.

“We did everything we could to keep our doors open, so we never closed, and it was never an issue, I just expected sales to be half of what they were, and it was about that,” said Torres.

He said while they did make changes to follow CDC guidelines, and that thankfully, he didn’t have to close the store.

Torres told us they will continue following CDC guidelines once their new location opens.

He’s hoping to have Canela open by July 11 for Moultrie’s Second Saturday Event.

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