Series Panel: Carol & Susan McLeod, Hold Fast Brewing
Sandy Higgins, Crackerjack Shack LLC
Leisha Baker, Club Z!
Title: Pivoting your business
A panel conversation with women business owners about how they survived, or even thrived, during the COVID pandemic--And what lessons for change can be applied to any small business
Carol and Susan McLeod, owners of Hold Fast Brewing
According to Carol: We survived the pandemic by turning our brewery into a "drive thru" when businesses were shut down and then making sure we had all our tables spaced apart so people would feel comfortable.
About the McLeods:
Sister master brewers Carol and Susan McLeod own the microbrewery, Hold Fast Brewing, located on North Kimbrough in Springfield’s decommissioned Fire Station No. 1. Why “Hold Fast?” It’s the motto of their Scottish heritage clan with roots dating back to the 13th century.
Their story starts about five years ago with the sudden loss of their father. What started out as a passion for beer and home brewing blossomed into a successful family business that celebrates craft beer, the vibrant Springfield community and the memory of their father.
The sisters say they love experimenting with “out of the box” recipes. Carol was accepted into the American Brewer’s Guild, interned with Rahr & Sons Brewing Company to learn the trade worked in a small Tulsa, Ok., brewery and toured high-ranking breweries in New England. Meanwhile, Susan enrolled in classes to learn how to work on industrial systems and is their in-house repair person.
The sisters found the fire station and opened roughly 18 months ago. Nearly every day, Carol and Susan can be found in their taproom while a third sister serves as brewery accountant; a younger brother is the brewery lawyer and their mother helps as needed while making everyone on the team feel like an honorary member of the McLeod clan.
Sandy Higgins, CEO The Crackerjack Shack LLC
A screen printing and embroidery company
Sandy Higgins, Springfield native, launched The Crackerjack Shack in her home’s basement in 2007 and has grown it into a million dollar, award-winning enterprise.
According to Forbes, The Crackerjack Shack ranks in the top 2% of women-owned businesses globally (2016) and it has won 3 international decorating awards (Impressions Magazine).
Sandy is proud of her staff and their accomplishments, including their ability to pivot with new print products during the pandemic to keep the business afloat. Products included High School celebration yard signs, embroidered masks and helping other businesses by printing their logo T-shirts that patrons could buy in support.
Leisha Baker, owner of Club Z!
In-home tutoring services
Leisha Baker is the co-owner and area director of Club Z! In-Home Tutoring. Through Club Z! she combines her background as an educator with her passion for making an impact in our community. Establishing positive, meaningful relationships is one of her greatest strengths, and she is most passionate about helping people reach their potential. Leisha serves on the advisory board for Nixa Care to Learn, is a member of Springfield, Nixa, and Republic area Chambers of Commerce, and a member of the Association for Women in Communication. She actively supports area schools through events and programs, and is a volunteer for the Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks.
Together with her husband, Kevin, she has two grown children, a grandson named Emmet, a rescue dog named Bailey, and three grand-dogs. She loves reading a good book, playing card/board games, and relaxing with a nice cup of coffee or glass of wine. She has an extensive hat collection (to accessorize her alopecia) and enjoys traveling, exploring new places, and visiting art museums.
Event Details for In-person:
Tuesday, April 6th | 11:30am networking, 11:45am-1pm lunch & presentation
New Venue: The Gallery (above Gillioz Theatre)
Cost: Members $16 | First time guest or student $10 | Guest, second visit $25
Parking: See map below.
Event Details for Virtual:
Tuesday, March 2nd | noon-1pm
Zoom link sent upon registration.
Cost: Members and guests $5