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Community matters for women entreprenuers in Grand Rapids: BoxedGR's Missy McCall

A local business woman's love for Grand Rapids inspired her new company. To keep her going, she finds encouragement meeting with a community of women entrepreneurs.
Underwriting support from:
Missy McCall's business, Boxed GR

Missy McCall's business, Boxed GR /Courtesy of Missy McCall

Missy McCall, owner of Boxed GR

Missy McCall, owner of Boxed GR /Courtesy of Missy McCall

Being a woman business owner in Grand Rapids is filled with both challenges and rewards. Missy McCall, founder of local company BoxedGR, creates custom gift boxes filled with Grand Rapids-themed products, samples and gift certificates. Founded in 2014, McCall’s leap into Grand Rapids-centric entrepreneurship, just like her gift boxes, has been filled with surprises.

“I've always been incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship, and I've always looked up to people who took that risk and went out on their own,” says McCall, who has a background in pharmaceuticals but is a self-proclaimed marketing nerd. “I wanted to find a unique way to help promote local businesses and show off all the cool stuff that we have to offer here in this area. I'm really sort of in love with Grand Rapids.”

She said Grand Rapids has a unique spirit that can’t be found anywhere else.

“I've traveled quite a few other places, but there's just something about this place. Maybe it’s being so close to Lake Michigan; we're a big city but it doesn't feel like it's too hectic," she says. "It doesn't take two hours to drive from one end of town to the other. We just have a lot of cool things going on here.”

McCall says starting BoxedGR has allowed her to interact with all sorts of business owners and community leaders, and she’s been thrilled with all the support she’s received.

“A huge part of what I do is connecting with other business owners. I've gotten so much help and information and suggestions from other business owners,” explains McCall. But she says women business owners bring something special to the table.  

“Women business owners in the area: I find that they're extra supportive,” she says. While she’s received plenty of encouragement from the men she works with, she admits there’s just something special that happens when you get two women entrepreneurs together in a room. She's found a special community in a group that has formed, and calls themselves the LAdies Business Innovation Association.

“Every two weeks I meet with six other local women business owners. We're very open with each other about what our successes and failures are, or just missteps that we've had. We each help each other to brainstorm and we pump each other up,” she says. That's important, explains McCall, because being a female entrepreneurs can be a lonely endeavor. 

“We listen, which is a huge thing because when you're a business owner: you don't always have friends who do the same sort of things. There's nobody that you can reach out to, because there's nobody else in your business. There's no one else who understands the emotional aspect of it- the ups and the downs and all the unique challenges that entrepreneurs face," says McCall. "Just having that group of other women who you can talk to and who relate to you on all those levels is so powerful.”

McCall met most of the women entrepreneurs she meets with through Local First, an economic development organization in Grand Rapids that supports local businesses- which fits right in with BoxedGR’s mission of showcasing Grand Rapids’ best and brightest small businesses. 

“Local business bring so much unique character to our city," says McCall. "It would be really sad if our only option for shopping, dining or service providers was the same old chains found everywhere."

Disclosure: The author is a member of the LAdies Business Innovation Association.

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