Will Berthiaume and Valeta Cornwell know a thing or two about downsizing their belongings. Come to think of it, they also know a thing or two about having to try to fill an empty house.
That’s why they’re so happy to open their new Woodbury business, New Uses. The business concept is simple – it’s like a consignment store for furniture and home goods, only they pay cash up front for the merchandise they take in and resell.
It’s a perfect fit for the couple, who have a little bit of experience on both sides of the furniture and home goods store cash register.
Bethiaume and Cornwell met when they worked together in San Francisco. When he moved in with her, he had to get rid of some of his belongings since she already had so much of her own. That worked well, until the couple moved to a larger home in Texas. There, Cornwell’s furnishings were not enough to fill their home, so they started hitting estate sales to find newer, cheaper-priced items to fill up the vacant space.
Oh, but then they decided to move to Minnesota to be nearer to his grandchildren. The problem was, their chosen home here was going to be much smaller. So they had an estate sale of their own.
With all of the downsizing and then later replacing of home furnishings, they kind of started to enjoy the estate sale circuit. The problem was, their home, again, was only so big.
“We got some really good deals,” Cornwell said, “but when we filled the house again, it was like, ‘Well, now what?’”
Settled in Minnesota, they knew they wanted to go into some kind of business where they could still enjoy the estate sale hobby. Only, they really didn’t want to start their own business, either.
Somewhere along the way, they heard about New Uses, a franchise that buys and sells gently used home goods and furniture. They researched the franchise, decided they liked what they saw, and signed on with NTY Franchise Co.
New Uses is not new to Minnesota. In fact, the franchise is headquartered out of Minnetonka, with stores in Minnetonka and Maple Grove, and now Woodbury. However, no two stores are exactly alike, as each one receives new merchandise daily – even by the hour – as people can bring in items they would like to sell, and receive cash on the spot.
Now their new business gives them new reason to hit the estate sales and garage sales, only they don’t have to actually go to the sales anymore because Woodbury folks have already brought in plenty of merchandise.
The store has been open to receive items for the past six weeks, but sales didn’t start until the official grand opening on June 25. Word apparently spread about the business, too, because there were 81 people lined up outside the door that morning – many of whom had already picked out items and wanted to get to those pieces before anyone else could – and another line had formed outside the door on the second day, as well.
“That’s been a great surprise for us,” Bethiaume said. “Valeta is almost on a first-name basis with a lot of them already.”
New Uses is located at 8150 Coller Way in Woodbury. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 651-797-3136 or visit http://www.newuses.com/store/woodbury/