By JAMES EIK
They say the first year is always the hardest for a new business, but that will soon be out of the way for Medical Lake’s Verve Vintage Home Furnishings.
Owner Rhonda Edgar is the sole proprietor of the store, which will celebrate its first year of business during Founder’s Day celebrations Saturday, June 15. She looked back on the past year with a positive outlook, noting that business has grown steadily since opening.
Although the business is still young, Edgar has been around the West Plains area for a number of years, previously running a consignment store on Fairchild Air Force Base for four years. The collecting bug has been with her throughout her life.
The store, which turns over merchandise regularly, started with furnishings from her own home collection that had been put away into storage. Items from her previous Europe travels were among the first products in the store. Since then, Edgar has found her store’s stock from a number of retailers.
“I’ve always had a love of interest in collecting,” she said.
A Medical Lake resident for the last seven years, she was driving through the city last year and noticed the Corner Closet consignment store had opened next to Studio D Hair Design. It took a leap of faith to decide on opening the store, but Edgar said the store would help fill a need in the community. Word of mouth spread quickly, helping to make this last holiday season better than she expected.
With Verve, it now makes three neighboring storefronts in Medical Lake owned by women, Edgar said.
“The three businesses now on this corner have drawn a lot of interest to the town and the area in general,” she said. “It’s broadened the horizons of the local folks quite a bit, and clientele is growing here.”
Edgar places a heavy emphasis on buying local and working with other retailers in the area, forming a network of connected stores throughout the region. She focuses on procuring vintage items, particularly those made by fair trade companies, buying from companies with business principles similar to hers.
“The types of the things you won’t see here are the mass produced, made in China type of furnishings for the home,” she said.
In addition to strong customer reviews and word of mouth, Edgar has seen great success through her efforts on social media. Between her website and marketing on Facebook, she’s able to attract a wide array of potential customers and develop a strong online community.
“I stay on top of that as much as possible,” she said.
Just like last year during the store’s first few weeks, Edgar will host other area businesses for Founder’s Day.
“It was, for a lot of people, their first exposure to my business,” she said. “Getting people into the store is the first step.”
Coming up in just a few weeks, Against the Grain from Cheney will be among those in Medical Lake hoping to draw more of the collectors’ market out to the West Plains.
Working into her second year of business, Edgar hopes to continue expanding her merchandise selection while offering some additional events to welcome customers into the store.
Verve Vintage Home Furnishings is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and is located at 107 Lake St. in Medical Lake. For more information, visit www.vervevintagehomefurnishings.com.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.