Sara Kate Rushing
Fashion boutique owner Mary Catherine Strider-Logan, 26, is one of the latest business owners in growing Hernando, a city between Oxford and Memphis with a population of about 16,000.
Strider-Logan grew up in the Mississippi Delta town of Cleveland before completing a psychology degree at the University of Mississippi. She later moved back to Cleveland to take care of her sick mother.
While there, she helped her friend run a store and realized she wanted to open a boutique. Her dream didn’t come without obstacles.
“One of the biggest hurdles of starting this business was finding someone to believe and invest in me,” said Strider-Logan. “I had to have $100,000 to start this business, and it was very difficult to find somebody willing to invest in me. I went to 24 banks and the Small Business Association to apply for a loan, and they all turned me down.”
While dealing with financial pressures, Strider-Logan said she sometimes had to deal with the negative attitudes of others.
“Being taken seriously in the business industry is very difficult for a young female,” she said. “I started when I was 23.”
She eventually succeeded in opening her own boutique, Saint, at 2420 E. Parkway St. in Hernando.
“The way I came up with the name Saint is not very special at all or doesn’t have any deep meaning,” she said. “I wanted the name of the store to originally be Elevation, but since a church had recently opened named Elevation, the city and state would not let me use this name.
“The city gave me a deadline to set the name for my store, and on the day the name was due, Kim Kardashian had just had her baby, who was named Saint. I loved this name and decided to run with it.”
Saint has been a successful venture since Strider-Logan opened it three years ago.
“Revenue has increased since our opening in 2016 nearly double,” she said. “The town has almost doubled in size, and I also think that is a huge factor … My store is for women of all ages. This includes mother and daughter, even grandmother. I would say it is for women ages 13-74.”
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Hernando’s population has grown from around 7,000 people in 2000 to around 16,000 in 2019.
Strider-Logan said her goal is to provide quality and unique clothing for women of all ages.
“Show Me Your Mumu and Nation are our two top performing brands because no one else in DeSoto county carries them,” she said. ‘For the fall and winter, we have lots of leopard and colorful jackets. Jackets and outer wear are huge right now.”
Strider-Logan did not plan to open Saint in Hernando, but when her husband landed a job there, she reevaluated her original plans.
“I saw there was a missing market for what I had there, and I had to pounce on the market,” she said.
Saint employee Laura Kathryn Redden commended Strider-Logan for giving her the opportunity to work as a sales person. The recent Ole Miss graduate and aspiring business owner who just began working there said she’s learning a lot about business.
“My favorite part about work is meeting new customers and building relationships with them,” she said. “I love being able to pick something out and say, ‘This is so cute,’ or ‘You will love this.’ It makes them feel special, and it gives them the true Saint Boutique experience.”
Redden said she plans to work at Saint until she has acquired the skills necessary to open her own business.
Strider-Logan offered the following advice for young women who aspire to be business owners. “Stay persistent,” she said. “Lots of people and things will try to stop your progress, but only you can stop your progress.”
She also believes in following your dreams, setting goals and achieving them. All elements are factors in owning a successful business, she said