Jennifer Quinn Williams was born and raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, graduating from Kirkwood High School then continuing on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Louis University in 1991. While attending graduate school at SLU, Jennifer came up with the idea for a custom closet business-what would soon become Saint Louis Closet Co. She was so confident in her idea that she dropped out of graduate school to pursue her entrepreneurial venture.
In 1994-just three short years after starting her business with just herself and a van-Williams was recognized by Arthur Andersen with a Top 25 Business Award. After seeing so much growth, Jennifer moved out of her building in Kirkwood and into a new location in Maplewood.
Armed with the desire to better her surroundings while preserving the integrity and small town feel of the city of Maplewood – and with the success in business to actually do something about it – Williams and her husband created 22 Company in 1996, a property management company which now owns and operates over 150 rental units in Maplewood. Jennifer recognized how central the area was to St. Louis, including its close proximity to the major universities-Saint Louis University, Washington University, Webster University-and that the area was within the financial means of people who could not afford to live in the more expensive areas like Clayton or Webster Groves. By rehabbing these units and increasing rents, Williams has played a major role in bringing life back to the city of Maplewood.
In November 2007, Jennifer branched out of closets and real estate to open another Maplewood business: Saint Louis Cellars, a retail wine store, which is connected to the newly renovated $6 million Saint Louis Closet Co. building. The store prides itself on its non-intimidating atmosphere and is divided up by taste-Cool, Rich, Sweet, Bubbly, Fruit, etc.-and everything in the store retails for under $20. Saint Louis Cellars aims to attract customers who are either new to wine drinking or who just want to be able to get a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price. The business is fast becoming a neighborhood staple and an easy hangout for St. Louisans. In May 2009, Saint Louis Cellars expanded to now include a section of “Splurge” wines (wines over $20) as well as snack and gift items.
2009 was a big year for Williams, with multiple recognitions, including the YWCA Leader of Distinction Award, the Girl Scouts of America Women of Distinction Award and in early 2010, Williams was honored with the SBA’s “Entrepreneurial Success Award.”
Jennifer’s serves on the honorary board of Friends of Wings Pediatric Hospice Care and has been the Honorary Chair for two years running for the Big Bear Brunch, and in 2008, she was named the President of the Friends of Wings Honorary Board. She also spends much of her time speaking to college and high school students about the benefits and challenges of Entrepreneurship and women about the challenges of business ownership.
BA, Communications 1991