By Will Murphy
It is 8 a.m. on a warm Saturday morning as Colin Wright starts up his truck for the day. This job is the first of many he has this weekend with his self-owned business, Colin’s Haulin’. As he loads up his truck and trailer with broken furniture and assorted worn and weary items, he takes a moment to reflect on his company’s growth.
“Upon starting, my weekends were slow. Since then my weekends and even weekdays after school are typically fully booked. I’ve recently expanded my inventory and bought a trailer to serve my clients better,” he said.
Colin is one of many small business owners from Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, but it seems like success is a common theme throughout all.
Grant Dickersheid, another Tuscarora student, is the creator and owner of Letter Company, a streetwear brand that has found its audience.
“I always liked creating things so when I started making clothing and people liked it, I ran with it.” Dickersheid said. “I treat it like a creative outlet. I just make things that I think look good and interest me.”
Grant’s business has found strong local support in Loudoun, with his pop-up stores attracting hundreds of customers.
“My first official pop-up was at the Leesburg Junction about a year ago where I got to set up shop for the day,” he said. “It went really well, and it was cool seeing everybody come that was interested in what I was doing.”
This wave of enterprise was not instant, however. Each of these business owners have had plenty of learning experiences along the way.
“Since I began, I’ve learned many life skills including great leadership skills and how to manage a business of this size. This business has steered me toward many different career options in my future,” Colin said.
“One big thing I’ve learned is that you know best,” Dickersheid said. “If you know what you want to do, just do it. Consider what other people have to say, but you don’t need to listen. Just trust yourself, only you see your vision.”
Another business that has garnered local success is Pinoy Fades, a barber shop owned and operated by Gerard Cadag. The business has attracted clients from all over the county looking for a fresh cut and has somewhat of a cult client base in Leesburg.
“I first started this business because I started to enjoy cutting hair over quarantine, so seeing people needing haircuts, I took advantage of that when the lockdown lifted,” Gerard said. “I personally think I came a really long way ever since starting in June of 2020. I came across a bunch of different hairstyles over the years and with the time I put in with work, I’m able to cut any type of hair.”
These young business owners don’t just care about the money—they have shown that their communities hold just as much value to them. Wright has continuously worked with Loudoun Habitat for Humanity to help encourage recycling unwanted items.
Cadag has also given back to his community in his own way.
“The first event that I did was for a friend that his family had organized for teens in the area to help them grow into fine young men. I gave them free haircuts for the kids, and it was an amazing experience to be able to give back and give smiles to peoples faces,” Cadag said.
Will Murphy is a senior at Tuscarora High School completing his capstone project at Loudoun Now.