Photo by Katy Gould. Pictured left to right are Jose Gonzalez and Gabriel Munoz, owners of three successful Waynesville stores. After 25 years in retail, the pair share insight into what it takes to be successful.
Walk into any one of three stores owned by Jose Gonzalez and Gabriel Munoz and you’ll see why they are successful small business owners. The doors swing open many times a day for customers, friends, neighboring small business owners and deliveries. Clearly dedicated to their ventures, it’s hard to catch either of the pair for very long as they greet customers and answer their questions, talk on the phone about orders and deliveries, and direct workers that are bringing shipments.
Gonzalez and Munoz own and run Main Street Mercantile, J. Gabriel and Moonlight & Garbo. All are located on Main Street in Waynesville and all are bustling with shoppers searching for unique treasures, often found inside.
Recently, the pair was awarded the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurs of the Year award. After 25 years in retail, Gonzalez and Munoz have learned from their mistakes and explain what it is that makes a small business successful. “First and foremost, whatever you decide in life, be passionate about it,” says Gonzalez. “It creates a drive in you to get up in the morning and do what you do.”
Another piece of advice Gonzalez gives is to take a chance. Their chance came when Munoz was the first of the two to leave the corporate world. Living in Miami, they opened their first in what would be several ventures in 1997. “We both wanted to get out of the rat race and find a better quality of life,” Gonzalez explains.
Then came the move out of Florida. First starting a business in Thomasville, Georgia, they began to look for opportunities in Western North Carolina, a place visited while on vacation. In 2015, they made the move to Waynesville and declare this will always be their home.
According to Gonzalez, another key to their success is knowing your community and being involved in it. “We have great women working with us that makes opening and running a business so much easier. And because of the connections we have made in the community, we were able to open the last two stores quickly,” he says. “Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center helped us write the original business plan and it has been instrumental from the beginning. It also was a great help when we were ready to expand. Another benefit with the relationship at the Small Business Center was resource referrals provided by the Director, Katy Gould.”
Gonzalez says the key to a new venture is knowing the resources that are out there and taking advantage of them.
Munoz and Gonzalez were also recently announced as the Chamber’s Business Startup Competition winners. The money from this award will be reinvested into the three stores they currently have.
Visit Munoz and Gonzalez at Main Street Mercantile and J. Gabriel where you will find well curated goods from candles and jewelry to kitchen supplies, journals and outdoor accessories. Walk away with the perfect gift, for even the savviest collector. The newest venture, Moonlight & Garbo features affordable, trendy everyday clothing, jewelry and accessories.
Visit SBC.Haywood.edu or call 828.627.4512 for additional information or to register today. Thinking about starting a business in Haywood County or growing an existing business? Take advantage of the programs, services, and resources provided by the Small Business Center. The NC Community College’s Small Business Center Network facilitates an economic impact in 90 percent of all NC counties each year and ranks number one in the U.S. for total business seminars and participants. In addition, the network helps start an average of over 700 businesses every year and works to create and retain 3,800 jobs annually for North Carolina. Visit ncsbc.net for more information.