Will Minster got his start helping mom and pop shops at his family’s jewelry store

Welcome to Lemonade Stand, a revitalized series where we ask folks in the community about their first jobs.

Small businesses. (Photo by Flickr user Samneang Lina Sin, used under a Creative Commons license)
Updated: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the year Will Minster's family jewelry store was founded. It was 1895, not 1985. (3/6/17, 9:53 a.m.)

In Lemonade Stand, we’ll profile a local leader’s first business experience. Tell us about yours.

You might know Will Minster as the director of business development at Wilmington nonprofit Downtown Visions, where he recruits small businesses and promotes the city’s business corridors. You might not know that Minster spent 25 years running his own jewelry shop — and his childhood sweeping the floor of his family’s.
“My family lived upstairs above our jewelry store located on Main Street in Elkton, Md.,” Minster said, “And my first job was as a stock boy and janitor. At age six, I was expected to work and was paid $6 per week.”
The shop was founded in 1895. Keeping it clean and stocked was serious work, Minster said. It’s how he picked up an appreciation for work ethic of mom and pop shops.
“We like to say entrepreneur today, but many mom and pops are as much a lifestyle and have their own language,” he said.
Minster added that he’s good at what he does because of his jewelry shop experiences — including the mistakes he made.
“I consult a lot of businesses on not doing what I did.”


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