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GenerationHU - Young Alumni of the Month

OCTOBER   2013

GenerationHU - Photo

Laura Walker '09 and Cristie Merritt '11


Laura Walker and Cristie Merritt are Harding Alumni from Georgia who own a retail store in Searcy called Shop Bella C. During their time at Harding, both participated in the American Marketing Association and Ko Jo Kai. Laura held offices in both Ko Jo Kai and AMA for 3 years and Cristie held an office for 3 years and was president of Ko Jo Kai during her senior year.

After graduating in 2009 with a Business degree in Marketing, Laura worked as a business manager for Dillard’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas before she went on to work for a multi-line showroom in Dallas called Colletta. She worked in fashion markets in Vegas, Atlanta and Dallas and went on to carve out a position as their southeast rep for the multi-line showroom. Laura is married to David Walker, who is the assistant women’s basketball coach at Harding, and they are the proud parents of Beckham Lee Walker.

Cristie worked with Laura to launch Shop Bella C as she was finishing her senior year of college. As soon as she finished school, she went to work for Colletta as well. During this time, Laura and Cristie built their business and officially took on Shop Bella C full time in the fall of 2011. Cristie graduated in 2011 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising.

Laura and Cristie started Shop Bella C with trunk shows and then launched from there into large retail. The next venture was their ladies online boutique which ships out nationwide and throughout Canada. They followed up by launching their first retail store in the hometown of Harding, Searcy, Arkansas.

Laura and Cristie enjoyed their time at Harding and the experiences they had while they attended.

“Harding was an incredible experience for both of us. We both left with lifelong friends and a lifetime of incredible memories. Harding helped shape the Christian businesswomen that we strive to be every day and also helped shape our work ethic,” Walker said. “One of the most important things that HU provided us with was a support group of Christians who are all striving to keep God and their faith as the most important things in their lives.”

Laura and Cristie currently reside in Searcy while running the Shop Bella C retail store located at 2411 W Beebe Capps and have provided some Harding students with job opportunities.

“We currently have three Harding students and one Harding alum working for us. Megan Matteri, who is our business manager, Brooke Walker, Rachel Tchen and Alison Dowd have been such a blessing to our business,” Walker said. “We are so grateful for their enthusiasm and incredible work ethic.

Find out more by following Shop Bella C on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook: Shop Bella C

Twitter: @shopbellac

Instagram: @shopbellac

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