Women in Business Spotlight: Brenda Engeman and Jessica Hasselbach

October is Women’s Small Business Month! We are celebrating women’s entrepreneurship this month by featuring several female business leaders from our community. According to FundEra, 40 percent of businesses in the US are owned by women, and there are 114 percent more women entrepreneurs than there were 20 years ago. 

This week’s featured entrepreneurs are Brenda Engeman and Jessica Hasselbach, of the Old Fort Country Market! 

Describe your business and how did you get started?

We were both working at the IGA in Green Springs when it was sold. Brenda had been there for 18 years and Jessica for 14. We had become good friends and decided it was time to move on. We knew that the market in Old Fort was for sale and thought it sounded right up our alley.


What is the most difficult thing you’ve encountered?

We’d say the most difficult problems that we have faced have been the break-ins. Our store has been burglarized 6 times in 16 years and dealing with insurance companies, the rising cost of premiums and replacement costs have been tough. But the good always outweighs the bad!


What advice would you offer to other women who might be interested in starting a business?

Think long and hard. Don’t jump into a business that you do not know everything about, including all the costs,  insurance payments, payroll, taxes and be prepared for unexpected expenses to come up. If you have the knowledge, desire and a great support system like we have, don’t let anything stop you.