Embracing the trend of reuse and recycle, Savvy Home Consignments in Onalaska provides previously owned, like-new home furnishings to consumers interested in helping the environment and their budgets. Before opening the upscale home furnishings resale shop, entrepreneur Angela Bartow completed research and planned thoroughly. She also contacted the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and received professional, no-cost consulting.
“We had three meetings with consultants at the SBDC. They helped me formulate a business plan,” says Bartow, who advises others to take this important planning step before making the leap to business ownership. “Establish an elaborate business plan, go over potential risks, make sure you have really thought it through 100 percent.”
Center director Anne Hlavacka and consultant Terri Urbanek helped Bartow with strategic, operational and financial planning. They also connected her with Catherine Tryon who provided specialized consulting to help Bartow explore marketing options for her business.
Savvy Home Consignments opened in February 2013 in a 1,400 square-foot space on Oak Forest Drive in Onalaska. Just six months later, Bartow expanded her space to 5,000 square feet and now employs five people.
“I had planned to grow my company to this size. I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” says Bartow.
Pre-loved home furnishings, ranging from lamps and rugs to kitchenware and large furniture, move quickly at this consignment shop. Bartow markets the store’s eclectic offerings online via Facebook, allowing potential customers to view the new consignments as they become available. Utilizing social media is another suggestion Bartow has for small business owners.
The success of Savvy Home Consignments has Bartow already thinking about a second shop, and she has reached out to the Wisconsin SBDC at UW-La Crosse again for expansion advice.
“I plan to keep growing the business and meeting my customers’ demands,” says Bartow. “I would ultimately like to have multiple Savvy Home shops throughout the state.”