Celebrating female business leaders on International Women’s Day - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Celebrating female business leaders on International Women’s Day

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CARBONDALE -- March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a day of celebrating social, cultural, political and economical achievements of women worldwide.

There are reportedly more than 11 million women-owned businesses across the country.

Longbranch Cafe and Bakery, a woman led cafe, will celebrate its 20th anniversary on April 15. General Manager Elaine Ramseyer said she's proud to serve her community and hopes to see more women lead businesses. 

"I started my first business when I was 24," Ramseyer said.

40 years later, she is one of more than two dozen women business owners and co-owners in Carbondale.

Although Ramseyer doesn't have children, she inherited mother-like qualities at work. She went from having 8 employees to 33, over a 20 year period. 

"I think it's maybe been more developed over the years, the whole nurturing relationship aspect because we're women and ultimately because we're mothers," Ramseyer said.

The number of businesses owned by women in the U.S. has more than doubled in the past 20 years, according to the annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express Open. 

"I would so encourage women to be in businesses that they love," Ramseyer said.

Next door to Longbranch Cafe and Bakery, Andrea Barclay co-owns Global Gourmet. Meghan Cole, the Executive Director of Carbondale Main Street, is happy to hear about the growing trend of women business owners.

"Women are a powerful force in the workforce industry, one that has been ignored for far too long in my opinion," Cole said. "And it's great to have different perspectives and different owners, managers and workers in the downtown."

But it's not always uphill.

Like other businesses, Ramseyer said they have challenges too. She said for the first 18 years, business was on the rise, but over the past two years, they experienced a slow decline.

"All of these economic factors affect all of us," Ramseyer said.

She said factors like the 2-year budget crisis and lower enrollment numbers at SIUC played a role.

"But I feel as long as there's a Carbondale, we can have a Long Branch, we're serving community," Ramseyer said, adding they will start a delivery service next week.

Through the ups and downs, Ramseyer said she always feels empowered as a woman business leader.

"You know they say if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life," Ramseyer said.

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