Sometimes business is more than just selling products and services. We often times worry about the bottom line and overlook important aspects like sustainability. For Cara Montarsi Jackson, sustainability was at the forefront of her decision to start up a women’s reloved clothing store in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. She likes to educate others by often saying, “if one million people bought their next article of clothing secondhand instead of new, we would save six million kilograms of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.”
Cara is the proud owner of Caramia’s Reloved Fashion LLC. Cara was born and raised in Lock Haven and after many years away, returned in 2012 to raise her daughter, Sophia, around family.
In April of 2022, Cara had the idea of opening a reloved women’s clothing store. In May of 2022, she found a space that aligned with her business model. Cara signed the lease and quickly transformed the space to incorporate her branding with modern fixtures and a stylish color selection.
Cara was able to work with Tom Keiffer of the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) during her planning phases of the business. Cara met Tom through their service on the board of Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. The Penn State SBDC was able to provide assistance with her website creation and overall marketing strategy. Cara worked with the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic to receive her LLC and EIN.
As mentioned earlier, Cara does not believe the bottom line is always the most important number for her business. The numbers that matter the most to her… how many people can she employ and how many people she can help in the community. Caramia’s has a partnership with Roads to Peace and the Clinton County Housing Coalition. Anyone in need, with a referral from one of the partners, can come in and shop– no judgment, no charge. Customers have donated money to Caramia’s “house account” so others in need in the Lock Haven area can enjoy their own shopping experience.
Having a healthy bottom line is critical to running a healthy business but sometimes that bottom line isn’t what matters most. Caramia’s is a prime example of how one business can make a huge difference not only for the community but for the environment as well.