Meet Chrissy. A Kannapolis resident and business owner for over a decade, who only recently gave herself enough credit to accept that title – a common story for entrepreneurs who start their business as a side hustle.

“When I started Chrissy’s Cruisin’ Creations, it was just a means for extra income,” said Chrissy. “It paid for my wedding. It wasn’t ever meant to be a permanent business.”

After 8 years of growing her small business of unique personalized gifts and décor, Chrissy decided in 2020 to leave her 9-5 and jump into the world of full-time entrepreneurship. Did she have a moment of confidence and clarity then? Not yet.

Chrissy was struggling to figure out how exactly to run her business on a daily basis. While she knew how to make a profit, things didn’t feel very organized or focused. Cue the Retail Lab in spring of 2022.

She decided to apply for the 6-week bootcamp for early stage retail businesses, funded and designed by a partnership between the Small Business Center at RCCC and Flywheel Foundation, to see if it had the tools she needed to get things to the next level.

It was the second week when everything changed for her. The group had homework to complete their Business Model Canvas, a more informal version of a business plan. Chrissy volunteered that night to put her homework on the screen and allow the class to dissect her Canvas.

It was in that exercise that she finally gained clarity on who her customer really was, where their pain points were and what unique value her business offers. Not only that, she saw a clear path forward. That path led her to a complete re-branding of her business.

“When I started to take myself seriously, everyone else did too. As I worked through the Retail Lab program, I re-did everything.”

She nervously approached the front of the room at the end of the program to pitch for a Retail Lab grant. It was the first time she would unveil The Palmetto Market, her new brand that the program inspired, and her very first time pitching her business. The response was incredible, and she won a grant.

“That moment gave me the confidence to say, ‘I am meant to be here.’ Up to that point, I felt more closely aligned with moms doing crafts and selling on Facebook. It gave me the confidence to say my products could actually sell in a store. Now, I sell in multiple stores.”

It’s safe to say that the Retail Lab program has not only changed the way Chrissy’s business looks to the public, it’s changed her mentality and confidence for the long term.

As for what’s new in her life as a business owner? She’s learned to say no to the wrong project and has set healthier boundaries around her work hours.

“This year we’re going to be all over Charlotte and Cabarrus County doing pop-ups and meeting our customers face to face.”

To learn more about The Palmetto Market and where you’ll see them next, visit and check it out on Instagram at @shopthepalmettomarket.