Tenacity. Engagement. Building Relationships. All of these are traits which have made Mary Beth successful as a small business owner. After a long career in the healthcare field, Mary Beth "changed the play" and became the only female franchise owner for Play It Again Sports in the state of Florida. She is ready to show her community what she is made of.
Following 25 years in health care management, working specifically in nursing homes, Mary Beth's profession began to take a toll on her. With every day involving illness or death she knew the time was approaching for her to make a change. That's when an opportunity at Play It Again Sports presented itself and she couldn’t say no.
Mary Beth has always been very active. She loves the outdoors, traveling and sports, so much so that her nickname is, “The Participator.” Mary Beth has a heart for getting involved in anything and everything she can. She knew that Play It Again was the perfect chance for her to shift her focus from the end of life, to living the best life.
In August of 2017, Mary Beth opened her Play It Again Sports store. Her son came on board as the Assistant Manager in training. Although they can have very different perspectives, she admits that it does the store a lot of good. He assists in the design and set up of the store, and she handles the day-to-day activities and the networking for the business. Mary Beth really enjoys helping her son grow in his career all while helping the community get active.
Mary Beth admires that Play It Again Sports gives everyone an opportunity to play. The store sells 50% new items and 50% used items so that young families have a chance to buy sports equipment for a great price. “I want everyone to be able to shop,” Mary Beth said. Many children come into her store who have grown out of two pairs of shoes in the span of one season. Play It Again makes it easy for families to afford sporting equipment for their growing children.
Another unique option that the store offers is the chance to recycle used sporting gear. When children grow out of their gear or change sports they can trade them in. Mary Beth can either give them a store credit or allow them to get a different item for the same value. This way families aren’t throwing their money away when their children grow or participate in a different sport.
Outside of Play It Again Sports, Mary Beth is an active part of the Winter Haven community. She currently sits on the board for the new Winter Haven Elite Baseball travel league. “It’s exciting to get in on the ground level and get involved,” she said. She hopes to help offset costs for young kids to get into sports and help direct their energy towards creativity.
Mary Beth is also involved in the Junior League of Winter Haven with her daughter. They now run the Kids in the Kitchen program where they both teach the girls at Girls Inc. of Winter Haven how to make healthy snacks. “I’m all about playing, but you have to learn how to eat well so that you can play well.” A healthy diet is a large part of a healthy life and Mary Beth takes that seriously. To this end Mary Beth is has joined the Board of Directors for Girls Inc. of Winter Haven to further enhance the girls experience.
“There is no time to lolli-gag when you own your own business.” Soon after she opened the store she decided to become a Chamber member and she shares that this was a great business decision. Through the Chamber she has already made many invaluable relationships.
Her advice to new business owners - ask questions. She does admit that she didn’t always have all of the answers and she still has to asks questions from time to time. “You can’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to ask someone who has been there before than to try and reinvent the wheel.”
Mary Beth shared her excitement for the future. “It’s exciting to be your own boss,” she shared, “Not because I’m making a million dollars," she laughed, "but because I’m living the American dream.” Her industry is male dominated and she feels that becoming a female franchise owner is extremely special. As she raises her family, runs her business and gets involved in her community, she realizes that it’s a wonderful honor to be in the position that she’s in.
Mary Beth urges all women to, “Take advantage of every opportunity!” Even if the opportunity looks different than expected, every woman should get in the game and play hard. Don’t be afraid to throw a hail-mary for the ultimate touchdown.