Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jack Ellsworth of Valontine
Dec22

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jack Ellsworth of Valontine

This week’s Start Fort Wayne Entrepreneur Spotlight features Jack Ellsworth, founder of Valontine, located in the City Exchange Shops downtown. Valontine offers “items that mirror what is in style today, while still holding on to their vintage heritage.” Beard Oil from Valontine was recently featured on our Christmas Top Picks, and I can honestly say you will never visit this shop and walk out disappointed. Never. Jack’s knack for thrifting and his eye for fashion has transformed from a hobby into an Etsy Shop, and now into a local brick and mortar location that’s a real gem in downtown Fort Wayne. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? “It has always been a dream of mine to have my own company. My mother, father, sister, stepfather and a majority of my step brothers have had prosperous businesses or have dabbled in running their own companies in the past. So the idea of having my own business just seemed to be the norm. I have had a few businesses in the past but they were either freelance work or online only. When I saw the opportunity for a tangible store in the downtown area at a reasonable price, I decided it was the perfect time to take the leap.” What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? “Being a part of The City Exchange has helped me the most. The location and low overhead has made exposure more possible and has helped to keep me out of the red in regards to expenses. Also being a part of the cohesive tenant community — I’m not there by myself — I have the other tenants as support and we help bring each other customers.” What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? “Sporadic business traffic. Most would think weekends would be popular days of the week to shop, but I’ve had certain Mondays where I’ve done better than certain Fridays or Saturdays. Also opening during the holiday season has skewed numbers a bit (in a positive way) — so it’ll be interesting to see what traffic will be like outside of the holiday season.” What person has helped you the most in your journey? “I would say my friends and family. They are my biggest supporters. I would also say the people of City Exchange, without this location I doubt I would’ve been as successful. My mother has helped me a lot, she’s had her own business for 20+ years, and she’s had many ups and downs. I have learned from her issues and her triumphs and...

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