A Groover and Shaker

Jen Groover will settle for nothing less than conquering the business world. Her new book might just help you do the same.

Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliAsk Jen Groover if she’s aiming for Martha Stewart-type success. She won’t bat an eyelash.

“Oh, yeah,” she says, with unmistakable confidence.

Groover, a multi-talented entrepreneur in her mid-30s who created, among other products, the insanely popular Butler Bag, truly could be a Martha in the making.

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 Earning descriptions such as “a one-woman brand” and a “serial entrepreneur,” Groover appears regularly as a business and lifestyle expert on such shows as Fox News’ “Strategy Room,” and ABC’s “Money Matters.” A business contributor to the Huffington Post, she is about to debut a new line of products on QVC.

As if she’s not busy enough, Groover embarks on a 10-city tour this month to promote her new book, “What If? & Why Not?” for budding entrepreneurs. The book is part of Groover’s effort to help others overcome roadblocks to success in business. Of course, she will settle for no less than New York Times best-seller status during her first turn as an author.

“I’m hitting on something no one else has,” Groover says. “When I launched the Butler Bag, all the naysayers and negative obstacles turned into philosophies to empower me in my own journey. I’m taking all that technical knowledge and combining it with spiritual infusion to give people the mental and emotional capacity and physical ability to accomplish what they want.”

Groover, originally from Media, Pennsylvania, splits time between offices in Philadelphia and New York City. She started her business career in 1996, when she co-owned and operated The Groove Shop, an aerobics studio in Wilmington.

 The Butler Bag became her first franchise, reaching $1 million in sales the first year. Three years later, it’s hailed as one of the fastest-growing handbag brands in history. Groover has since created a Website for entrepreneurs, Launchers Café, introduced the Leader Girlz brand to teach leadership to young girls through play, and a lifestyle brand of fashion-related products that will be featured on QVC this spring. She also has a couple of TV shows in development.

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“I want to create a play in any industry,” Groover says. “I can transform people’s lives, make them face their fears and overcome them. I feel I can make a difference. I have no limits at all.”  —Drew Ostroski

Page 2: A Matter of Degree | A new scholarship program at Goodwill could give people a second chance at an education–and, in turn, a better life.


Goodwill president and CEO Ted Van Name and program director Jennifer Clark (both standing), shown with students Tammy Johnson and James Pritchett, hope to provide scholarships for 40 to 60 employees each year. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliA Matter of Degree

A new scholarship program at Goodwill could give people a second chance at an education—and, in turn, a better life.

In keeping with its philosophy of offering a hand up rather than a hand out, Goodwill kicks off a campaign this month to raise money for its Scholarship Fund, part of its Family Strengthening Through Education Program.

Goodwill has long offered job training to people who face barriers to employment, but the scholarship fund will enable Goodwill employees to complete their education by earning a GED or an associate’s degree.

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“The opportunity for schooling may have passed them by,” says Ted Sikorski, director of marketing for Goodwill of Delaware. “They may not have the resources available to them financially or the motivational support.”

Goodwill hopes to generate $1.5 million over three years, which will provide educational opportunities for 40 to 60 people each year. Participants can attend classes at local high schools, DelTech or Delaware County Community College.

Right now, the Scholarship Fund is open to Goodwill employees, but Sikorski says Goodwill hopes to expand the program to benefit clients and employees’ families.

“If we were able to have our team members and their families finish high school, get a GED, get an associate’s degree, it’s not only going to benefit them in the long run, but benefit us as well,” Sikorski says. —Alexandra Duszak

Page 3: Lofty Goals


Lofty Goals

It took five years, but the coworking movement has made its way to Wilmington. The coIN (short for community innovation) Loft, located at 300 W. Ninth St., is billed as Delaware’s first coworking office space. Coworking involves entrepreneurs and other professionals sharing leased office space that projects a café feel. Such environments have been known to promote collaboration between members, leading to innovative ideas. According to Verge Business Group, which launched the venture in March, customers pay for the number of days they use the facility each month. The loft offers 24-hour access to conference rooms, WiFi, basic office supplies and more. The goal is to attract creative entrepreneurs to Wilmington.

Page 4: Float Your Boat | In Celebrating the town’s maritime past, the Lewes Historical Society offers folks a chance to build their skiff from scratch.


Mike DiPaolo says the society will first restore its Delaware ducker. Photograph by Keith Mosher | KAMPRODUCTIONSFloat Your Boat

In celebrating the town’s maritime past, the Lewes Historical Society offers folks a chance to build their own skiff from scratch.

The Lewes Historical Society has launched a wooden boat program that includes the restoration of four historic watercraft. The goal is to return the vessels to museum-quality condition—and to build functional replicas.

The society is inviting the public to become shipwrights for a weekend during its first family boat-building event June 18-20 (Father’s Day weekend). Attendees will leave the three-day build with their very own 12-foot Bevin’s skiff. It’s all an effort to celebrate Lewes’ significant maritime past.

“We really want to offer people an engaging, hands-on activity to tie into what we have in our museums, archives and collections,” says society director Mike DiPaolo. “We want to make it come alive.”

The event is modeled after similar programs at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.

A $750 fee covers the cost of the boat-building kit, wood, tools and other expenses. DiPaolo recommends signing up early because space is limited. The build, which will take about seven hours each day, will be held at the society’s Lifesaving Station Boathouse along the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal on Pilottown Road.

“We picked June because it’s early summer and it gives people the opportunity to use the boats all summer,” DiPaolo says.

In the meantime, the society will start renovations of its four historic boats: a Delaware pilot skiff, a lifesaving service boat, a Delaware ducker and a hollowed-out canoe. The finished products will be placed on display, along with other artifacts and reminders of the town’s maritime history. “What better town than Lewes to have a program like this?” says DiPaolo.

For more information, visit historiclewes.org. —Drew Ostroski 

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