Merchant Profile/Store Adore – Locals with stores to adore

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Youre just starting a company.

The pieces are in place but youre not quite ready to bring it into being. And then you end up on Oprah talking about it to 10 million viewers.

What do you do? You launch. Immediately.

That was the obvious decision for area residents Meredith Barnett and Cristina Miller, best friends since the first grade at Beauvoir.

Fast forward 23 years and theyre still best friends, Harvard Business School grads, and co-founders of Store Adore, a website where zealous shoppers divulge and discover information on specialty stores.  

Meredith was a guest on Oprah with Hearst Magazines President Cathie Black, a longtime friend and mentor, when she talked about her business.

There are now 2,300 stores in DC, New York and Boston currently profiled on storeadore.com. Chicago and Philadelphia will launch soon, followed by San Francisco, Miami and Dallas.

It started at HBS in 2006, when Cristina and Meredith realized that small stores would make for great advertisers. Theyre not running ad campaigns in Voguebut they could afford to buy advertising on our site, sponsor shopping tours or provide special discounts to our readers, says Meredith, who doesnt allow advertisers to influence user reviews.

Store Adore was for cities when we conceived itBoston, New York, and DC, says Meredith.

But it will be most viable when its everywhere, even a tiny town with just two or three great stores. Craigslist is a good example of a site that started really well in one city and expanded.

Cristina adds that Store Adore is a true start-up at the moment (Sometimes we have to bang our air conditioner with a Swiffer) but shes hoping things will be different a year from now.

The young entrepreneurs mention tech savvy as a key ingredient to their ultimate success. I didnt realize how challenging it would be to do the user interface, the user experience thats so unbelievably critical. You only get a shot at people once, says Cristina.

But they both realize that starting a business while still under 30 has its blessings. We dont have three kids. Were not giving up what we couldnt get back, says Meredith. Right now, we can afford to take risks.

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