By Alyssa Schnugg
Oxford’s downtown historic Square consists of 105 locally-owned brick and mortar businesses and 52 percent are owned by women.
Two of those downtown female business owners are helping to bring recognition to local female business owners and provide a place for them to network, socialize and learn.
October is the national Women in Small Business Month, and last week, Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill declared Oct. 11 as Oxford Women in Small Business Day.
“Oxford Women in Small Business Day allows the city to showcase its significant number of female-owned businesses in Lafayette County,” states the resolution. “The goal of this proclamation is to celebrate the female entrepreneurs of Oxford and to encourage more women to pursue their goal of self-employment.”
A copy of the resolution, read aloud by Tannehill at the Oct. 1 regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen, will be included in the minutes of the meeting.
The resolution was brought to the Mayor’s attention by Sarah Smythe, owner of Lagniappe, and Anne-Marie Varnell Gordon, owner of Cicada.
The two business owners are planning an event on Feb. 28 and 29 called the MENT Women’s Conference that will feature well-known regional and national businesswomen.
“Both Sarah and I started our businesses in our early 20’s and know how important having a mentor is for continued business and personal success,” Gordon said. “With the MENT conference, we see an opportunity not only to reach women in their 20s but to reach women of all ages and who are at all stages in their careers.”
The conference is designed to touch on a wide variety of issues that come with owning a business.
“We have secured amazing female panelists from all over the South and the country who have achieved great success in their respective industries,” Gordon said.
Those attending the conference will also enjoy a stay at the Graduate (if coming from out of town), an exclusive countryside dinner at Wonderbird Spirits in Taylor, catered by Taylor Grocery; time to explore Oxford; a VIP dinner at Saint Leo Lounge and a Bloody Mary send-off brunch by local chef and author Elizabeth Heiskell.
The goal is to have 400 attendants at the inaugural conference, according to Gordon. Gordon and Smythe and the MENT board members are finishing up final details about the conference and more information will be released closer to February.
Sponsors are needed. For more information about the conference or on becoming a sponsor, call Gordin at 662-281-0541.