Cancer Survivor Tackles Small Business Ownership
A battle with cancer caused Linda Muhlbach to reassess her life and priorities.
After a year of successful treatments for colon cancer, Muhlbach saw that The Solid Rock in downtown Kearney was for sale. Bill and Ila Ballou had operated the Christian bookstore for 45 years and were ready to retire.
The timing was right for Muhlbach, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in business administration. She had previously worked in teaching and business administration.
Muhlbach purchased the store in February 2019 and just celebrated her first anniversary of business ownership.
“I have always wanted to own a small business,” she said. “It seemed to be the step God was leading me to. It has been a learning experience, but I am able to use many of the past experiences in running the store.”
Muhlbach said her faith is what sustains her through life’s ups and downs, and now she is surrounded by faith every day at work.
“It is so important to me to be surrounded by inspiration and encouragement, and The Solid Rock allows me to share that with others,” she said. “We like to think of our store as not just a Christian bookstore, but a Christian living store, where you can find things to surround your soul with joy, beauty and inspiration from God’s Word.”
After purchasing the business, Muhlbach made a few changes to the interior look of the store and added new product lines.
“We are seeing an increase in sales in different categories as we have expanded the gift lines,” she said. “I have worked to create an atmosphere where all ages and stages of faith will find books, Bibles and gifts to help them in their faith walk. This new product mix seems to fit everyone.”
Besides Muhlbach, her “Team Rock” includes seven other members, some who work just a few hours a week and some who work many hours.
She also decided at the time she purchased the business to join GROW Nebraska to help her learn about business ownership and marketing.
“GROW is a great resource for training, ideas and keeping up with trends,” Muhlbach said. “I am looking forward to attending my first MarkeTech this April.”
She worked with the GROW staff to establish a website presence on the GROW website and has watched some of the marketing seminars offered.
“I hope to have time this second year of being in business to listen to more of the training webinars that GROW offers,” she said.
In the future, Muhlbach hopes to continue adding new product lines that encourage and inspire and to continue to see the store be a destination, along with the rest of downtown Kearney on the Bricks.
“Kearney, especially downtown, has a lot of hidden treasures that are worth seeking out,” she said.
To find out more about The Solid Rock, visit the business’ GROW Nebraska member page at https://members.grownebraska.org/list/member/the-solid-rock-10607