A certified public accountant, Christy Cooper, had a good understanding of budgets, finances and the operational mechanics of keeping a business going when she launched Feel Good Market, an eco-conscious store in downtown Redlands offering hand-crafted soaps and other sustainable products.

But as her boutique business grew, finding, training and keeping qualified employees became a challenge – one the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) has been able to help her overcome. Through programs such as On-The-Job Training (OJT) and WDB’s Human Services Hotline, Cooper not only is able to meet customer demand, but explore new opportunities for growth.

“It’s absolutely amazing that these kinds of programs are out there for small businesses. The county is there to support you in whatever way you need,” says Cooper, who began her entrepreneurial journey after creating an all-natural soap for family members with psoriasis and eczema. In 2018, she started selling at local markets, and opened her shop in 2021.

More than a storefront, the Feel Good Market features a refill station, which promotes the use of recycled containers, as well as a studio, where soaps, bath bombs, shower steamers and lotion bars are produced in-house. New employees need training to work the studio, which would be expensive, possibly prohibitive, if not for OJT, which pays up to 50% of a trainee’s wages during the first three months. 

“Teaching people how to make soap can take three months. During that time, it can be a struggle, but then it clicks. We have three on staff now who are amazing at it,” Cooper says.

Dawn Rowe, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, says OJT has become an extremely popular resource for the growing number of businesses that call San Bernardino County home.

“Our Business Services team at WDB is tuned in to the needs of our employers, providing the critical support necessary to ensure that we’ve got the talent pool to help them expand and prosper. It’s one more reason that San Bernardino County has become such a great place to do business,” Rowe says.

“We understand the challenges that business startups can face when it comes to finding the right employees, and we are proud to support them through programs such as OJT. We encourage all employers to check out the wide variety of services we provide, free of charge, to help them grow their businesses,” said WDB Chairman William Sterling.

Additional County Update News – May 9, 2024

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