Editor’s Note

Mechanics Bank presents the Courage at Work series, recognizing it takes incredible courage to start and run a business. As a local and independent bank, Mechanics understands that local businesses are the heartbeat of our community and would like to thank those businesses who call Richland County home.

Chris and Holly Troupe have always dreamed big, from owning a driving school to currently owning and operating a retail store.

“I was built to be a business owner and a true entrepreneur. I love business like a sport,” Holly, or better known as “Boot Boss Holly,” said.

When Chris and Holly owned Superior Driving School, driving through the community eight hours a day, they realized the public was not spending money in the area, simply because there were no local shops to supply them with what they needed, specifically work-related gear, according to the couple. 

The couple believed they could help solve this problem. Chris and Holly sold the driving school to another entrepreneur, and they moved onto their next project. The two hiked up a multitude of mountains when they started their new journey, learning the ropes of retail as they went. 

“Our first obstacle was breaking into an industry neither of us had been in before,” Holly said. “We know the worst thing that could happen was going out of business and becoming bankrupt.”

The neighborhood in which the store lives is no coincidence, as the two came up with a strategic plan of being five miles within every major manufacturing company, which led them to downtown Mansfield. This was to help support employers that provide work boot vouchers to their employees.

According to the Small Business Advocacy, 50% of businesses fail within the first five years, and 50% of those businesses that remain will fail within the next five. 

Although the local shop has surpassed being a part of the first half of the statistic, they are working to ensure they make it past the ten year mark by working with business mentors to grow their operation, their leadership and their own belief lid, according to Holly. 

The company believes in the importance of determination, persistence and creativity in order to thrive. Holly and Chris believe new entrepreneurs should treat their business like a business — not as a hobby. 

“It doesn’t take money to make money, it takes courage to make money,” Chris said.

The Troupes recommend future business owners ask themselves two questions: What is the target? What are you looking to accomplish with the business? 

Remember to build a foundation with the end target in mind. A written out business plan is the best way to hold yourself accountable.

As Ohio natives, Holly and Chris want to see Mansfield local shops thrive, especially downtown. 

“We are going to be a stronger community if our dollars are spent here,” she said. 

Located at 36 W 4th Street, this boutique provides shoppers quality items from work boots to jeans to purses. 

“If it’s here, there’s a need for it,” Holly said. 

According to Holly, the company sells a curated inventory that is unique but also of great quality that helps to solve problems. “Our inside mission is to make lives better one boot at a time.”

The Boot Life is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about their mission, location and shopping online, visit https://thebootlife.com/


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