MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) – A small business owner says she has hired dozens of new workers after one of her photos went viral on Facebook in less than a year.
Heidi J. Hale said her jewelry store, HEIDIJHALE, has tripled their employees and their business online is booming.
The city said Hale’s jewelry store is helping bring new life into the once thriving factory town.
Mayor Dennis Tyler also said there were 21 new businesses that opened in downtown Muncie in 2015.
“It’s exactly what you talk about small business in America making a difference in their community,” said Mayor Tyler.
Ball State graduate Rachel Meszaros said it was exactly the opportunity she was looking for after college.
“Before this I was like I don’t see any opportunity in Muncie, but businesses like this can change that for this town,” said Meszaros.
Hale said her business started out as a hobby at home, but ended up turning into something more when a friend posted her jewelry on Facebook.
“When we were sitting at my son’s swim meet, the emails were going off another order, another order, another order, and another order.” said Hale.
There’s a store front on Walnut Street and in the back a work shop with an atmosphere more like Silicon Valley than a former factory town. Customers can order jewelry to be custom made with names and dates significant to the customer. Orders are going out in huge mail bags all over the country and even the world.
“We’ve had France, UK, Belgium, we send a lot to Canada,” said Hale. “We sent one to Budapest. We’re sending out a little bit of Muncie all over the world, all over the country.”
The personal connection for Heidi and her employees is to the city of Muncie.
“There are a lot of people putting a lot of effort into downtown Muncie, and I wanted to be a part of that group,” said Hale.
Leaders like Mayor Tyler said there is hope for more growth. He said people just have to experience what the city has to offer.
“It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or five years ago or ten years ago,” said Tyler. “It’s about what’s happening today.”
Many of Heidi’s recent hires have been Ball State graduates. Some told 24-Hour News 8’s Joe Melillo, they never thought they would stay in the city after graduation.
Mayor Tyler said the relationship between the college and the city will be increasingly important for the future.