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THREE CHEERS — Hip Hip Hooray!
This column salutes REAP businesses that are finding ways to increase their success.

From Rags to Riches, The Drawer, Sparks Customer Interest in Holdrege, Nebraska

Well, maybe the “rags to riches” title is a bit of an exaggeration, because Denise Swanson of Oxford, Nebraska, owner and manager of The Drawer was never dealing in “rags” as in tattered clothes. Quite the contrary – a primary attraction of this consignment store is “upscale” labels at bargain prices.

“Riches” in terms of exorbitant profits it isn’t. However, from a start in mid 2003 to the present, the business has shown steady growth. In fact, the store has a supply base of approximately 500 consignors and features consignment items that include not only female apparel, but also children’s and men’s clothing as well as many other items.

Denise Swanson says that highlighting items for the whole family is one of the unique things about her business that helps build her customer base. Denise began looking at self-employment opportunities when her employer, Paxar Corporation in Holdrege, closed in 2003.

Self employment was a logical alternative for Denise to explore, given her entrepreneurial talent. She was referred to REAP for technical assistance and a direct loan. Instead of a net job loss, the community gained through Denise’s willingness to open her own business. Opportunities for specialty stores like this exist in other rural communities in the state.

After the store opened, I was amazed at the variety of clothing items. I spotted several “upscale labels” I knew would impress my wife. In a rare moment of shopping skill, I managed to not only remember my wife’s dress size, but to score several shopping “finds” that pleased Dixie greatly.

In addition, I impressed my daughter by purchasing several baby outfits that were actually the right size for our granddaughter Aislinn. Actually, it wasn’t my shopping skill but the assistance I received from a service-oriented, customer-friendly shop.

The Drawer is skillfully finding a niche in Holdrege Nebraska to provide a valuable service. Congratulations to the latest REAP business success story!

Written by Phil Menke, REAP South Central Business Specialist, 308.784.4948 or philmenke@cozadtel.net
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Center for Rural Affairs -- Rural Enterprise Assistance Project
145 Main St.    PO Box 136    Lyons, Nebraska  68038
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