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Preservation and perseverance: How Monica Mingo built her business

There are many well-written articles covering the technical aspects of building a business, offering step-by-step instructions regarding incorporation, marketing, etc. This isn’t that kind of article. I’m here to share the secrets that keep my business viable in adverse conditions.


I believed I’d done all the right things. I hired good people, giving them space to hone their craft and hold themselves accountable. Then the significant economic problems of 2023 arose, and I could do nothing except batten down the hatches and persevere.

Times got tough, and I became more creative on social media. I shared a lot about who I am as a child abuse survivor and someone who suffers from clinical depression. I shared why I work so hard and care so much about my team and my community. I never stopped believing in us, and I never will. I still believe that one day an angel investor will show up and help me to franchise, as I think our business could work near any big city in the country.


I am not a micro-manager. Fortunately, with my current team, I don’t have to be. I value my employees and know they understand what needs to be done. I respect them and their pace, as I know we all want our business to succeed.


As the economy did its thing, I focused on the services we offered that never slowed down, such as furniture repair, restoration, reupholstery and refinishing. Breathing new life into cherished heirlooms and preserving the essence of craftsmanship is an area where we shine.


We have amazing clients. I get texts and calls daily from people who know we can work magic with their worn-out furniture pieces. Our clients watch our Facebook page regularly and know all the things we do in our community. They are ambassadors of our cute little store, as well as influencers. They tell everybody about us, and one client turned friend went above and beyond in a way I still can’t believe.

Even in difficult times, we continued to work with our patrons and make it possible for them to pay for their pieces over time or put items on layaway. Conditions were not just hard for small businesses; they were hard for our clients, too, and they have appreciated our understanding.


I had a few losses last year that hurt me emotionally, which will probably always hurt. However, loss makes you lighter on your feet and improves your critical thinking.

My husband says I am not the best businessperson because I tend to value people over money. Last year taught me that I need to get back to doing the things I love, particularly hunting for fabulous mid-century modern furniture and décor. When I am genuinely excited about something, my team is, too, and that is important.

As the business flourishes, expansion will become a natural progression. We plan to venture into offering workshops and seminars, sharing our expertise with enthusiasts eager to learn the art of restoration. The continued success of my furniture repair and restoration business is not solely measured by financial gains, but by the impact made on individuals and communities. Each restored piece carries a story, a legacy preserved for generations to come, and is a testament to the enduring power of craftsmanship and the art of breathing new life into the past.

Monica Mingo is owner of That Gumbo Life in Gautier. Reach her at (228) 471-5302 or at

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