Three women shopping during the Great Recession – wife, sister and mom – led young Tyler Wilson and his wife, Marissa, to form what is now a rapidly growing retail business, Superior Scrubs, in Hiram. “My wife was in school to be a nurse. My sister, Kaley, was in the medical industry as well. And Mom, she’s the shopper. So they’d go out looking for uniforms and, between the three of them, they saw no sufficient choices in the area,” says Wilson.
“When the economy crashed, Marissa and I knew we wanted to own a business together, and the health care market was still strong.” They looked a little deeper into their concept, and Marissa left her job to open Superior Scrubs, their new 1,300 square foot store, in 2009. Tyler worked for his dad days and in their business at night until 2010, when he joined his wife full-time. Superior Scrubs sells medical uniforms, medical equipment and instruments, nursing shoes and embroidery services to the west Atlanta market. When they opened, the Wilsons realized they needed to actively market the store. A family friend and small business owner recommended Tyler call her consultant, Drew Tonsmeire, of the UGA SBDC at Kennesaw State University.
“At that point we were still new and getting people to know we were there,” says Wilson. “We didn’t know about Google ads, so Drew started us out with that. He gave us a list of contacts in the medical and dental fields, and we sent direct mail to them.” Tonsmeire also suggested they get listed in various business directories and on Google maps. The response was swift. Customers and sales had grown so quickly that one year later, the Wilsons added another 900 square feet to their store. By 2012 they had purchased property in Hiram. They asked Tonsmeire to help them run numbers on building a mall large enough for their store and some medical offices.
“The biggest challenge we see is when retailers outgrow a location,” says Tonsmeire. “Tyler was reaching that point, so we helped him put together his loan package with financial projections. He sailed through the loan process, built his 10,000 square foot mall, moved his retail business into 5,000 square feet and added other tenants.” Andy Fried, a business consultant at the UGA SBDC’s Kennesaw State University office with extensive commercial real estate experience, was called in to help Wilson understand his new role as landlord. He coached him on what tenants are looking for, the language of leases and terms, and how to review documents and have these conversations with his attorney. Seven years after its start-up, Superior Scrubs has 11 employees. First-year sales were $300,000. This year’s projections are over $2 million. Wilson continues to run his numbers by Tonsmeire, who helps him review his operating profits and efficiencies to support continued growth. He has coached Wilson on personnel development and encouraged Wilson to attend the SBDC’s GrowSmart® program, where Wilson says he enjoyed sharing discussions with like-minded small business owners.
Wilson says “one thing I’ve fine-tuned over the years is how to run numbers and see whether they work. Part of our success is managing cash flow and repeatedly looking at the numbers. It’s worth the effort to set aside a specific time to look at the business.
“Getting Drew’s second opinion on ideas is always a big help when I’m running financial analyses. The data he’s been able to get for me has been beneficial.”
“Tyler has always taken advantage of taking the skills and processes he needs to make his business successful,” says Tonsmeire. “Many times, he’s had the right ideas and numbers, and we were just confirming them. He and his wife work together as a strong family business – and with two children now, it has been fun to watch their family grow along with their business. They will continue to be successful.”