"Anyone who wants to succeed in business needs to come to the table with know-how, working capital and the willingness to work hard."
Elkhart County, IN Entrepreneurs
Ask Scott Woldruff what he’s done right to stay in business for two decades, and he’ll laugh and say, “I don’t know.
”Keep him talking, though and eventually he’ll explain the secret to his success: hard work and good business practices. “We just keep our nose to the grindstone,” he says, “working hard and reinvesting in the business."
A little over 20 years ago, when Woldruff was living in Wisconsin and looking to relocate, a friend suggested that he give Goshen a try. Although Woldruff had never been to Elkhart County, his friend lived in Goshen and thought it would be the right place for Woldruff’s fresh start.
Woldruff agreed. So, having spent virtually of his life in the shoe business, he packed up, moved to Goshen and opened Woldruff’s Shoes and Apparel. He’s never regretted it. “I felt comfortable here from Day One,” Woldruff says. “And I’ve not had a down year in all those years. The business has grown every year.”
Growth like that doesn’t just arrive on a business’ doorstep, though, Woldruff says. Anyone who wants to succeed in business needs to come to the table with know-how, working capital and the willingness to work hard. Specifically, an entrepreneur should be prepared to invest at least half of a business’ start-up cost from his or her own pocket, Woldruff says, and then put in the long hours it takes to keep a business going.
“It’s not about when you want to work,” he says. “If the business needs you there, you need to be there.”
When the growth does start coming, he adds, you’ve got to be willing to put money back into the business. Focusing on service, quality merchandise and extended sizing, Woldruff has added brands and styles to his inventory as his resources allowed, he says. The result has been a growth pattern that has defied economic ups and downs.
Which isn’t bad for a guy who, initially, claims to have no idea how he’s managed to succeed.
Owner, Woldruff's Footwear and Apparel