Former Bear transforms passion into career

Baylor alumna Allison Campbell turned her passion for fashion into a career by opening The Franklin Shops in her hometown of Fort Myers, Fla.
Courtesy Photo

By Kelly Galvin

A recent graduate of Baylor wasted no time putting her degree to use. Allison Campbell opened her own shopping store, The Franklin Shops, in her hometown of Fort Myers, Fla., early this year and has been consistently attracting interested retailers and patrons of every kind.

Campbell graduated from Baylor in May 2009 and got the idea for the business in spring 2010.

She quickly went from having a plan to becoming the CEO of her own business.

The Franklin Shops is a storefront holding 27 different local retailers, and offering one-of-a-kind treasures around each corner. Spice is a store in Waco that is similar to The Franklin Shops, providing various merchandise from clothes to furniture from different retailers, but all housed under the same roof.

“We have a lot of original pieces, whether it’s jewelry, home accessories, handbags. We even have a leather boutique, and we’ll be having a swim boutique as well,” Campbell said.

Campbell studied finance while at Baylor, giving her an advantage in starting her own business.

Campbell describes her concept as “a store with shops,” and the business model she created convinced Rene Miville, a local investor, to show interest in the project.

“It’s the most exciting thing for shopping in Fort Myers in 10 years,” said Miville, who purchased the more than 10,000-square-foot building that houses The Franklin Shops.

Campbell’s store provides different opportunities for customers to find what they are looking for. Miville said adding Campbell’s shops to the building has made his store more marketable to a younger demographic.

Miville, 55, said he believes the opportunity with Campbell was meant to be, despite her young age.

“She blinds you with facts, and she’s fresh out of college with great ideas,” Miville said of his junior partner’s business plan.

These shops act like a department store. Retailers are offered a venue to sell products without the headache of managing a business. Campbell runs the management of all the merchandise.

“We handle everything: the employees, loss and prevention, and all the daily operations that are involved in operating a retail storefront,” Campbell said.

Campbell knew she wanted to start her own business after leaving Baylor and has a passion for fashion. Campbell said selling merchandise is her dream job.

“I’ve always liked the idea of owning my own store and being my own boss. I like having the freedom to make my own decisions,” Campbell said.

Campbell’s parents said they knew she would be successful after leaving Baylor and are very proud of her accomplishments. Sherri Campbell, Allison’s mom,said she has always known that her daughter would excel in whatever she decided to do but was especially excited about her new business.

“Allison has always had high expectations for herself and is a perfectionist, so to be her own boss is ideal for her,” Sherri said.

Sherri is supportive and said Allison will put everything she has into the success of her store.