In Good Company: Women Lead The Charge With Thriving BusinessesNov 19, 2022 12:35PM ● By Pamela Brown - Photography By Lynn Bohannon
Women business owners include (from left) Nissa Cullen, Julie Sumanis, Jackie Oktay, Kirsten Connor, Elena Taylor, Eileen McGuckin, and Kim Souza. Not pictured: Nina McCampbell from the Collection.
Jackie Oktay redefines entrepreneurship. With her husband she opened Tuckerbox in 2013, an eclectic cafe and restaurant in the heart of White River Junction. “It’s a community gathering place with local regulars who truly care about their community. Tuckerbox has amazing strong, bold coffee and super fresh, delicious food,” she says. In 2018, they opened Little Istanbul, an inviting shop with bright colors, natural materials, exotic spices, and great aromas. “It’s meant to transform guests to the street markets of Istanbul.”
Wanting to share their reverence for nature and love of food, herbs, and lifestyle as medicine, friends Elena Taylor and Julie Sumanis opened Juel Modern Apothecary in 2018 to help others improve their health and well-being. “We’re a café and retail shop serving everything from whole-food smoothies and cold-pressed juices to espresso, tea, and tinctures, to plant-based food and gluten-free baked goods,” says Elena.
Kirsten Connor’s sensitive skin and autoimmune issues inspired her to create hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-, and nut-free hair and skin care products that smell delicious and are environmentally friendly. “Our focus is on super-clean ingredients and luxurious products for people with sensitive skin, scalp, and hair. We’ve curated exceptional independent brands from around the country, all created by passionate people who are experts in what they do,” says Kirsten, owner of Flourish Beauty Lab, who sources ingredients from local farms to formulate and produce products in her open lab. Eco-conscious, Kirsten uses silicone-free biodegradable ingredients, reusable containers, recycled packaging, and refill pouches that use 96 percent less plastic than bottles.
You can shop outside the box at Revolution, an exurban thrift boutique that features a mix of contemporary, excellent-condition used clothing, accessories, footwear, and jewelry in addition to independently designed and ethically produced new merchandise.
Despite admitting she wasn’t always a foodie and was a very picky eater when she was young, Eileen McGuckin’s years of experience in the restaurant industry in New Jersey and the Upper Valley prepared her to live her dream as owner of Thyme Restaurant. “I’m proud to own a restaurant in White River Junction and be in such good company with the many other amazing women that own businesses in town,” says Eileen. Thyme was originally called the Tip Top Café. Eileen worked at the café for five years prior to purchasing it in 2013. “I changed the name to Thyme to really make it feel like my own and reflect the direction we were headed.”
Vintage clothing never goes out of style. That’s what inspired Nissa Cullen to open the Collection in 2017, a local clothing and accessory store. “I’ve always loved thrift shopping and treasure hunting and hoped one day I would have my own store to support my love for shopping and share my shopping scores with others,” says Nissa, who, along with co-owner Nina McCampbell, was collecting inventory for years before they opened the store.