55 N. State St. in Hart
Facebook and Twitter: Reflections Upscale Resale
A Q&A with owner Faye Johnson;
co-owner Maria Vandersluys
Date opened: September 2018
Staff: Two full-time employees
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What they offer: We are a consignment store. People will bring things in that they just outgrew or don’t want anymore, and then they sell it here or we help sell it for them. Then we take a consignment fee for selling it. But because we’re not a donation store, we can get a much higher quality of products in for folks to come to pick through and buy.
Why did you open this type of business? We have been doing this for many years; buying things, fixing them, selling them. We always rented spaces in somebody else’s store. We were driving one day and we said, “Hey, why are we paying someone else rent for something that we might be able to rent here?” So we started looking all around, and I have always liked the storefront, those windows on the front, they’ve always caught my eye. It was sitting here empty for probably two years, so we checked into it, and the owner gave us a deal we couldn’t refuse.
How did you choose the name for your business? We actually had a contest. We asked, through Facebook, for people to submit different names. And we got a very long list and we pared that down and pared it down, and then we finally just decided on Reflections Past, Present and Future. People come in here and they look at things and say, “My grandma used to have that, something like that.” That’s the reflection part, the past part. Then they’ll see a dress, and go “Oh I love this dress, I have to have that,” That’s reflecting on them now. Or “This jewelry is beautiful that’ll go with the outfit I’m going to wear next week.” So there’s your future.
Most memorable day at your business? Probably the day we opened. We had a crowd of people in here. We didn’t do a whole lot of advertising because we had zero advertising budget. People heard, I think, through Facebook, and word of mouth. It was a good day. It’s probably, to this day, our highest in sales.
What is it like to serve our community in this business capacity? It’s very rewarding. It’s great when you can help somebody find something they need. Our community is very short on stores where people can get everything and anything. They had Shopko, but that went out of business. Now there really isn’t anything else other than your dollar stores, and sometimes you want something that’s a little bit better quality than that. And that’s where we have it. We’ve had a lot of people say they like having us here.
How has our community responded to your business? Very well. We have a lot of returning customers and that really is the backbone of your business, return customers. The community enjoys it, too. A lot of people come in just to look around, and see what came in recently.
How has becoming a business owner allowed you to be more involved in our community? You tend to pay attention to what’s going on because that’s going to affect you. Whatever is going on around you is going to affect you or your business. You’ve got to, you know, keep your head on a swivel at all times. Before COVID, we would get involved with a lot of the things they had going on here. They closed down the streets at Fourth of July, and have all kinds of games set-up for kids, which was awesome and we’d donate prizes and stuff. You just want the community to know that you’re part of it. You’re not some outside entity, looking in. You want them to know, hey, we’re here, we’re part of you, part of the family.
What is your favorite thing about Oceana County? The variety. Of course, you have your variety of seasons. Then you have a variety of terrain. You have a lake. You have hills, massive hills, all kinds of trees and beautiful things, beautiful nature out there, beauty everywhere, and it’s not super crowded. I think people in Oceana County tend to look out for each other. If we see a neighbor who needs something and we can help them, we do it. That’s what we do in a small town community.
Future plans? As far as future plans, just to stay open, and try to get as many items in that the community wants and is looking for. Other than that we just want to still be here.
Why is it important to shop small and local? Because when you shop on Amazon, you don’t get to talk to a nice person who maybe knows about what it is you’re trying to look for or buy. So I would say mainly customer service is your biggie for anything. Your customer service is your biggest, biggest thing for the small stores. The big guys can’t beat it. They can’t compete in customer service like we can, and that’s important.
Final thoughts? I would like to see more community events. Again, that comes with, of course, COVID being lifted; the restrictions being lifted. But after all that is over and done with, I really would like to see some more community events like we used to have.