By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Two longtime friends have merged their ideas -- and their names -- to start a new specialty store in the heart of Woodstock.
Jeslyn's Pink Elephant opened at 118 N. Main St. across from the historic county courthouse in early June. It shares its name with an eBay store started eight years ago by Jessica Cook.
"The online store I've had has been kind of what I sell now, just a variety of collectibles and things," Cook said.
She and store co-owner Lynn Hollar of Edinburg have done craft shows together, and the opportunity to open Jeslyn's Pink Elephant came along.
"For me, it started with the eBay thing, and then us together, we saw that the store was for rent, so..." Cook said.
Hollar added, "Hey, I have an idea. It started with, hey, let's do this. It's something we've always wanted to do."
The physical store is whimsical and brightly lit thanks to the two large 30-paned windows fronting Main Street. From the street, kites, a parasol, lamps, jewelry, signs and more beckon to window shoppers.
Once inside, they'll find a smorgasbord of merchandise, including birthday cards, wall clings, dishes, candles, wall art, aprons, figurines, watches, bracelets and beads, antique furniture, dish towels, vases, lamps and even an antique bed frame. There is only one category that is off-limits -- clothing.
"That's like literally the only thing that I don't take is the clothing," Cook said.
While the women scout auctions and garage sales for some of the shop's merchandise, the majority is consigned to them, Cook said.
And while their suppliers are widespread, "our eBay customers are in different countries," Hollar said.
"I think the storefront is decorative," Cook explained. "The stuff that we like to focus on selling online is more the collectible stuff."
Some, but not all, of the storefront items are also listed online. Cook said they have sold things for as little as $10, and recently took in a Disney canvas picture that will be priced at $1,700.
The business partners also make some of the items they sell, such as wreaths, hair pieces and framed chalkboards.
"We like to go to yard sales and auctions, finding things we can make into something else," Hollar said.
They'll even do personal shopping for customers. Patrons can tell Cook and Hollar what they're looking for, and the women will search for it, whether it be online or in person.
Hollar credits the market for their shop to the economy, as well as the popularity of TV shows, such as American Pickers.
Cook said selling items through their online store has advantages over going it alone.
"We have the established eBay store with the experience and we do have a very low commission base for the sales," she said. "We take care of everything. We list it. We sell it. Ship it."
The pair also will do phone consultations if a potential consigner isn't sure if the store would be interested in their item.
The Woodstock boutique's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It can be reached at 459-7080.