Bringing fashion to the ER – Invest Medicine Hat

Bringing fashion to the ER

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To start 2017, Medicine Hat-based My Scrubs took their success on the road, opening a second shop in Lethbridge. We took the five-minute drive to their Medicine Hat location to talk with owner Holly Lanigan about how niche businesses can thrive in the city. Between her helping her customers, that is.

Happy in her career working with an ophthalmologist, Holly had little entrepreneurial aspirations. But in 2012 when her husband pointed out that all her scrubs shopping took place on out-of-town trips, she realized there was an opportunity to be seized in her own community. Two months later, My Scrubs opened in a small 600 square-foot shop in downtown Medicine Hat.

“I had my microwave and fridge tucked in under a table behind the counter,” she recalls. “It was very cramped, but I’m a believer in starting small.” My Scrubs spent three years in that small space before moving to a larger, more visible location at the intersection of two busy Medicine Hat streets just beyond the core.

My Scrubs’ mission is to combine excellent-quality scrubs with great service and everything about the shop points in that direction, even down to the “call, don’t text” phrase on Holly’s sweater. She orders often, ensuring that product is always new. “You’ll never find scrubs from last season in here,” she says. Her vision of quality and service led to My Scrubs receiving the 2016 Outstanding Performance Award from her primary supplier, Cherokee.

So how did an ophthalmologist assistant with little entrepreneurial aspirations go from no stores to two in five years?

“I opened My Scrubs to fill a need,” she explains before going to help one of her customers – a Medicine Hat College nursing student. “I would always ask customers where they’re from and the answer was often ‘Lethbridge’.”

Sensing another opportunity in the nearby city, Holly did some first-hand scouting and confirmed her suspicions. The Lethbridge location opened in early January and initial response has been fantastic. As for opening a third store somewhere else, she sees the need but is happy to manage what she already has for now.

My Scrubs is an encouraging reminder that opportunities are everywhere. Entrepreneurs like Holly grow and thrive in Medicine Hat thanks to low lease rates, a start-up-friendly community that includes mentorship and support, and a healthy, growing population. By opening here, she was able to start small and grow her business into two locations in two cities.