We sat down with Danielle Raymo to dive in to what inspired her to open Rochester Brainery, which supports our community in a unique way by providing a space for affordable classes and events that cater to everyone’s interests, hobbies, and desire to learn.
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
I’m originally from Rochester, NY and graduated with a degree in Communications from SUNY Brockport. After graduation, I worked as a DJ and Promotions Coordinator for a local radio group (which I loved!), but then moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2010 hoping it would provide me with more growth opportunities. While it didn’t do that in the radio business specifically, it did provide me opportunities to grow professionally in other ways. Most of all, it helped me realize that for me to be happy in a career, I needed to be supporting my community.
During that time, I made regular visits home to see my friends and family, but was also exposed to all of the new and exciting changes happening in Rochester. I wanted to be a part of that and contribute, and so the itch to move back to Rochester began.
I took the leap to open Rochester Brainery in 2013 and I moved home just a month before we opened, after traveling back and forth for six months or so. Rochester Brainery is a combination of three passions of mine: My love for connecting people, helping small businesses grow (particularly through unique opportunities), and my personal want to never stop learning. I am lucky to be able to open a business that allows me to do all of that.
Why do you love doing business here in Rochester?
This community is incredibly supportive. They want to see you succeed and everyone is so open to helping each other achieve just that. It’s also a city that is going through so many changes, as many cities of our size are, and it’s rewarding to feel like, even in a small way, we’re fostering connections that can help spark some new ideas.
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
We receive wonderful feedback from our customers, but I would have to say that our customers are the main reason we’re in our second, much larger, and sunnier location. We always thought we might outgrow our space one day, but certainly not after three years. We heard about which types of classes our customers wanted to take, the events they wanted to work with us on, so we wanted a space to grow and accommodate that. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made and we have our customers to thank for that.
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
Starting a small business can be a big change, and it’s not always easy, but stay positive, stay true to your mission and listen to the feedback you’re receiving. I always say, support other people’s businesses the way you would hope they would support yours. Whether that’s shopping at their boutique, donating an auction item on an event, working with them on a co-promotion — ask yourself how can you help each other succeed.
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