Bothell’s The Neverending Bookshop owner Annie Carl took small business accounting and entrepreneurship classes at Edmonds Community College to prepare opening her own business. EdCC aims to reach an additional 500 small business owners a year with programs aimed at fostering entrepreneurship. (Jim Davis/HBJ)

Bothell’s The Neverending Bookshop owner Annie Carl took small business accounting and entrepreneurship classes at Edmonds Community College to prepare opening her own business. EdCC aims to reach an additional 500 small business owners a year with programs aimed at fostering entrepreneurship. (Jim Davis/HBJ)

How EdCC helps small businesses like this Bothell bookstore

A love for small businesses and books are in Annie Carl’s blood. As a girl, she played bookshop with her Barbies, alphabetizing and organizing her library.

When she was 14 years old, Mr. B’s Bookery opened in Kingston. She visited on the second day asking for a job and persisted for a year before landing six hours a week shelving and tidying.

“I was so incredibly happy. I was too young to be officially paid, so they paid me in books. I took home a stack every week,” Carl recalls.

The 33-year-old Puget Sound area native opened her Bothell store, The Neverending Bookshop, in October 2015. The passion and dream were all hers. She learned nuts and bolts knowledge at Edmonds Community College and through one of its partner programs, Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

Both EdCC and the center are currently expanding their curriculums to reach even more students in terms of teaching successful small business strategies and thinking. Earlier this month, 27 EdCC instructors and staff participated in a two-day training workshop by Ice House Entrepreneurship Program

Ice House is overseen by The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative. The concept focuses on “soft skills” such as mindset, creative and critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork. The intent is to integrate the approach across a variety of disciplines in addition to business classes.

At EdCC, this includes fields such as English, math, health, communications and more.

“When we talk about entrepreneurship instruction, it’s often thought of in terms of business management practices,” says Pam Foust, project manager, EdCC Workforce Development and Training.

“This is about changing the mindset around entrepreneurship. Maybe you don’t have a business plan or investors yet. You don’t know budgeting or accounting. However, you do have drive, resourcefulness and persistence. How do you recognize and capitalize on those soft skills?” Foust says.

EdCC’s goal for their newly trained staff and faculty is to reach an additional 500 students this year. Additionally, they are striving for diversity.

“A lot of students don’t see themselves as entrepreneurs. Something I love about this particular curriculum is that it highlights that entrepreneurs come from all walks of life,” says Terry Cox, vice-president, EdCC Workforce Development and Training. “Our students are pretty brilliant and have ideas of how to contribute to the world. We want to help them move those ideas from their heads and classroom into businesses.”

Ice House builds on an already productive partnership between EdCC and the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship. Mike Skinner founded the Northwest-based center in 2013, which became a standalone nonprofit in 2016.

The Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship offers an initial, four-week course to students and community about shaping and turning an idea into a business. They provide a followup course including financial overviews, market information and more. Assistance takes many forms from mentoring to legal advice and navigating small-loan applications.

“We want to reach people in underserved communities with fewer resources and lots of challenges,” Skinner says. “The goal is to help those individuals become financially independent and self-sufficient through small business. It’s about building healthy communities through entrepreneurship.”

The center serves the greater Puget Sound but focuses much of its efforts in Snohomish and King counties. EdCC was an early partner and provides classroom space. Approximately 600 people have participated in the center.

“There are around 500,000 small, family-owned businesses in Washington. The big corporations get a lot of headlines, but it’s ordinary people with everyday ideas — bakeries, childcare, handymen — that collectively strengthen local economies,” Skinner says.

Carl is the perfect example. She graduated from Western Washington University and, in anticipation of launching the bookstore, earned a certificate in small business accounting from EdCC. She furthered her knowledge through the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

“It was a good way to learn the ins-and-outs of owning my own business. It was so helpful talking to people who’d helped other businesses get off the ground,” Carl says.

It’s a success story EdCC and CIE hopes to replicate. For as much as her business contributes to the Bothell community, Carl feels equally rewarded. Customers drop by to chat and ask about her baby and share about their lives.

“Something really opened up in me since I started the store. I’ve made so many friends and it allows me to be independent in a new way. I think everyone should have the ability and information to explore opportunities,” Carl says.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Students use a modular skills trainer during class Thursday morning at Edmonds Community College on April 29, 2021.
(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses Week, from May 6- 12, honors the nation’s caregivers

Local nursing students and faculty say they couldn’t let the pandemic get in the way of their goals.

The Waterfront Place Apartments north building at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place cold see residents moving in by May 15. on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Now playing at the Port of Everett: sudden density

New Waterfront Place Apartments open May 15 at the port — local retailers welcome the influx.

Highland Simulant, a simulated lunar soil made by Off Planet Research, pours from a researcher's hands. Photo credit: Off Planet Research
Space company makes a soft landing at the Port of Everett

Off Planet Research creates simulated lunar soils here, so that moon landers can touch down gently.

Owners Krista and Eric Brown sit among rows of wines at The Grape & Grain, a new independent beer and wine store on Evergreen Way, on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New Everett wine and beer shop focuses on local brands

The Grape & Grain store offers wine and beer from “our backyard” — Washington, Oregon and California.

Chai Cupboard is a new loose tea and spice shop downtown, owned by Jeni Ellis and husband Tim, on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New downtown Everett store offers loose tea and spices

Bring your tea caddy or spice jar: Chai Cupboard carries more than 100 teas and 100 spices.

Indian drink condiments cartoon vector illustration. Traditional beverage flavourings in wooden bowls flat color object. Tea additives, hot drink ingredients isolated on white background
You voted: The best Indian food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. Amazon, which has been under pressure from shoppers, brands and lawmakers to crack down on counterfeits on its site, said Monday, May 10, 2021, that it blocked more than 10 billion suspected phony listings last year before any of their offerings could be sold. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon blocked 10 billion listings in counterfeit crackdown

Scammers tried to take advantage of shoppers who were buying more online during the pandemic.

A Mexican tacos food truck, people ordering and waiting their takeaway food
You voted: The best food truck in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

One of the Jetty Island ferry captains waits for boarders as the ferry begins operations for the summer on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Port, county to pay Everett for Jetty Island ferry this year

The Port of Everett and Snohomish County plan to make an online system for $3 reservations.

Boeing crash victims’ families push for changes at FAA

Hundreds are demanding the ouster of the agency’s administrator, Stephen Dickson, and others.

fish and chips cartoon
You voted: The best fish and chips in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

An artist’s rendering of the Amazon distribution center at the Cascade Industrial Center in Arlington.
A tax break used by Arlington, Marysville goes statewide

It’s helped land businesses in Cascade Industrial Center. Soon every city will get a chance to try it.