October is National Women’s Small Business Month. All month long we will be featuring local female business leaders to celebrate their success and contributions to the community. Next up is Old Town Clovis business owner Marty Watt.
Watt has owned The Original 4th Street Antique Mall since 1997, and has no plans to retire anytime soon. Her business is located on the southwest corner of Pollasky Avenue and Fourth Street. She attributes her success to nice people, returning customers and visitors. Watts travels all over the country in search of antiques. She was involved with the Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T.) for eight years, where she helped organize the annual One Enchanted Evening, Old Town’s most anticipated event of the holiday season. In her free time, Watt loves to volunteer and better the community in any way she can.
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, OK
Education: Burbank High School
Residence: Clovis, CA
Hobbies/leisurely pursuits: “I’ve always volunteered. Anything that helps or improves the community I want to be involved. ”
What got you into this line of work?
“No matter where I go, I always buy antiques. I love what I do and I love antiques. Growing up my mother and her sisters were all into antiques. The kids weren’t allowed to touch anything, so you hated them when you were 7 or 8. Then it grew over time. I used to play house, we used to design them and decorate them. I still do it to this day. If I go out of town and stay in a hotel, I’ll move things around.”
What is the typical work day like for you?
“I get up early. I love the early morning time, the quiet time. I will go to the computer for inspiration, and then I head to the store. By the time I get out of here it’s 6:30-7 p.m.”
What is your antique store’s motto?
“Our motto for the store is: We have the real thing. Others have their own vision for their store. In here, it’s an antique store. We have the real things. I don’t have replicas.”
What is the key to being in business for so long?
“You have to love what you do, and do what you love. Integrity is everything. You don’t just do what the rule book says, you do what’s right, and often that is not what the rule is. But you know the situation, and you do what’s right for your customers. After 32 years, its proven good so far.”
What advice would you have for someone new coming into business?
“I love coming to work everyday. The day that I decide, ‘Maybe someone else can go for me’ – that’s when I need to get rid of the store and sell it. I dont think I’ll ever sell it because my kids will follow the tradition, but you need to love what you do. Sometimes I have days where I go home and I don’t want to talk to anyone but it’s not about that. You have to read your customer and find out how to work with that person. Sometimes, it’s killing them with kindness. Other times they are not going to be happy no matter what you do, so you have to try to help them as best as you can. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to dive right in. Take that step and take a chance.”
Have you faced any unique challenges as a female business owner?
“There’s always challenges in some people’s perceptions. I became a business owner because I chose to. So, I was a lucky one. I was able to choose. I wasn’t left with something I had to pick up the pieces and make it work but I feel like I could have because determination is something I have. That doesn’t mean stepping on people, but determination to succeed.”
Do you take pride as a female business owner?
“I’ve never thought of it that way. I don’t think of it as being a woman in business, and there are many of us, but thats never been foremost in my mind. I think it’s a business, a successful business, and that’s how I think of it.”
What is your favorite thing about being an Old Town business owner?
“[My favorite thing] is the support we get from each other. Everyone helps everyone. If I know there is something someone’s been wanting from Good Ol’ Days Antiques, then I will send them over. I’ve sent people to all the businesses. I can’t think of a single business that doesn’t support each other down here.”
What is something most people don’t know about you?
“They don’t know that I once made a movie. I think it was 1990 my sister and I went to Missouri. We spent three days going around the country, videoing and playing the parts. We presented it at a family reunion with people from everywhere, including New York.”