Woman quits job, finds small business success through Groupon

Published: Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:16 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In the Columbia area there are about 800 Groupon deals up for grabs at any given time. As it turns out, one of those deals changed a Midlands business woman's life.

In an Irmo shopping center off of Ministry Drive, you'll find "Palmetto Paint & Pour." Owner Jana Gambrell loves to paint and she's teaching others how to, too.

"We make it so easy for everybody to do it, step-by-step," said Gambrell.

It's an art class with a social twist: pour a glass of wine, and pull out a paint brush. "If you can think of it and want to celebrate it or paint it, we'll do it," added Gambrell.

Her business took off two years ago, but before that she wasn't even sure if it would happen. "I was selling insurance, and my friend who worked with me at the time said that her sister had been to [a place like Palmetto Paint & Pour] in Indiana, and it would be right up my alley, and I should do it," said Gambrell.

So she had the vision for Palmetto Paint and Pour, but not a lot of money. "We just kind of scrounged up some money and decided to buy some supplies, and we tried going from home to home and restaurants," said Gambrell.

But other than making enough money to pay for the supplies, she couldn't support herself. Then she says she reached out to Groupon. "They'll split everything with you, on your deal, so you pretty much get paid to advertise with them," added Gambrell.

Groupon executives say they don't just sign up any one, but they were sold on Gambrell's idea.

"It has to be a real quality merchant to be on Groupon, and we do that because we know once we expose good businesses to our consumer base who is going to the site looking for deals or receiving our emails, they're likely to go visit that business," said Darren Schwartz, the Senior Vice President of Sales for Groupon.

Gambrell says because of the Groupon response, she was able to quit her insurance job and buy the space she's in now.

"It's just been an amazing response," said Gambrell. "I had no idea that so many people wanted to paint and drink with me."

Gambrell has even been able to hire a teacher who now does most of the nightly classes at Palmetto Paint and Pour. She still does private parties, as well.

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