Homespun business stands the test of time

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

Farragut continues to grow and evolve, but there’s something comforting about businesses that have been around since many of today’s residents were children. The Shoppes at Homespun in Village Green Shopping Center is such a place. The secret of its success is a wide range of ever-changing merchandise in 65 unique booths, says owner Beverly Sellars.

She is the third owner of the business, which opened 27 years ago. She became acquainted with the store when she rented a booth to sell jewelry after her kids left the nest, and she got to know the customers by working the cash register a couple of days a week.

After Beverly and her husband moved to Friendsville, they decided to open a similar store in Blount County. They quickly realized how much work and expense were involved with starting a business from scratch.

“While we were looking, this store went up for sale. We bought it, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

That was 10 years ago. The business model of The Shoppes at Homespun works well for vendors who want a hobby as well as for those who pay bills with their income, Beverly says. Vendors rent booth space and bring in new items whenever they like.

“It’s nice because they can have a little business without the expense of an actual store, and they don’t have to be here 24/7.”

Cashiers at the front of the store keep track of purchases, and vendors get paid once a month. Many have had booths for at least 10 years, and a handful have rented space for 20 years. It creates an eclectic mix of merchandise that changes daily. Some customers come in every couple of days to make sure they don’t miss anything, Beverly says.

“I’m still amazed at how many different items we have, from jewelry to antiques and collegiate items. We also have a good selection of Knoxville-themed merchandise.”

In spite of its long tenure, the store continues to attract new customers. They’re surprised by its size – 9,000 square feet – because it looks smaller from outside. Some learn about The Shoppes through social media. The store has Facebook and Instagram pages, run by employees, and Beverly thinks the social networks are her most effective advertising.

She and her husband now own a second Shoppes at Homespun location in Maryville. She stays “on the Pellissippi” driving back and forth between locations, but loves the flexibility of her schedule. She tries to spend one day in each store every week.

The Farragut location has many loyal customers, and she says the store has benefitted from the efforts of Shop Farragut Executive Director Steve Krempaski, who promotes local businesses and shopping centers.

“Farragut is a very good community with lots of good people.”

Wendy Smith coordinates marketing and public relations for the town of Farragut.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *