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Kay Cooley, Forum News Service, Published February 20 2013

Downtown Fargo packed with young business owners

FARGO - Business is booming in downtown Fargo, especially for owners still early in their careers. Young entrepreneurs are eager to reach their hands into retail. And they're finding downtown to be the perfect starting place.

They all start early.

Sally Loeffler—Beyond Running/Outermost Layer Co-Owner: "It's always more work than you think it's going to be."

And stay relatively late.

Ashley Morken—Unglued Co-Owner: "We just decided to go for it and make it happen."

Putting in countless hours behind the counters, and opening doors to new businesses, before even reaching 30.

Teresa O'Day—Proper & Prim Owner: "It's always one of those things you have to step back and think about for a little bit to fully take it in."

Step back a few years and these ladies were finishing up school, or starting new careers.

Sally Loeffler: "If you would've asked me ten years ago if I would owned two businesses in downtown Fargo, I probably would've asked you if you we're feeling okay."

Some never dreaming of the joy that'd come from starting a downtown business so young.

Ashley Morken: "I started as a full time nurse for about seven years."

Teresa O'Day: "I recently graduated college, took a job that I didn't really care for."

A time when costs seem quite high, and savings somewhat low.

Sally Loeffler: "It's not a get rich quick scheme."

Ashley Morken: "In a way it's kind of like we don't have a whole lot to lose."

But in fact, the perfect starting place for a person with free hours, and limited outside obligations.

Sally Loeffler: "People ask me if I have children and I say yes, their names are Outermost Layer and Beyond Running."

As you move further down Broadway, young owners say it's the strong community feeling of downtown that's welcoming to people of any age.

Sally Loeffler: "Up and down the street we make referrals and things. It's fun to come to work every day."

An enjoyment for retail and love for customer service, that will never grow old.

Ashley Morken: "If you have the spirit of wanting to have your own business and making Fargo a greater city, and the F-M area, you're going to do it regardless of what age you are."

Fargo's Downtown Community Partnership estimates about 10 percent of downtown businesses have young owners.