THREE CHEERS — Hip Hip Hooray!
This column salutes REAP businesses that are
finding ways to increase their success.
“Crossroads” Business Decision Brings New Visibility and Traffic to The
The Drawer, now located at 409 West Avenue in Holdrege, is a quality
consignment shop offering quality women’s, children’s, and men’s clothing
and accessories, along with housewares, home décor, furniture, collectibles,
and tools. The Drawer is a bargain-hunters dream with over 1,000 consigners
from various regions of Nebraska and also from surrounding states.
Nearly four years ago, after Artistic Woven Labels/Paxar Inc. announced
their closing, Denice Swanson, who had served in various management
positions for 23 years, was at a crossroads. This is the scenario she
presented to the 200 some employees she had to tell that were being
permanently laid off, “Consider this a chance to try something you never
would have, had you not had this opportunity.” She heeded her own advice and
opened The Drawer in August of 2003.
For three years, The Drawer was located on Highway 6 in Holdrege with
approximately 3,000 square feet. The widening of 4th Avenue and
consequential loss of her only front door parking along with the devastating
ice storm of December 2006, which left the area without power for over 21
days, led Denice to another crossroad.
She found herself contemplating “calling it quits” or expanding. When the
Treasurer’s of the Heart store was available, she considered the
possibilities: expanded parking, more of a downtown location, healthy retail
neighbors, and increased square footage with a better layout.
That is when she contacted the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project – REAP, a
program of the Center for Rural Affairs. Denice is no stranger to REAP,
having been a former client and Women and Co. Boost Award Winner for 2005.
Soon Denice was reaping the benefits of her partnership with REAP and her
desire to expand the business.
Currently they have more traffic in a day than they had in a week in the
former location, and her sales have doubled. Prior to the move, she employed
one full-time and four part-time employees. Currently she employs one
full-time and seven part-time staff.
Besides the increase in sales, Denice is glad that she decided to keep the
store open because it is giving her soon to be graduating son an opportunity
to gain some entrepreneurial skills. He was in a serious car accident that
left him partially disabled, and he knew he had to find other career
interests besides the family farm.
He made the decision to stay close to home, take college classes through
Central Community College in Holdrege, and set up a display and office at
the Drawer to sell his grandpa’s imported tools. Stop by The Drawer at 409
West Avenue in Holdrege and enjoy a unique shopping experience.