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Why a Children’s Resale Franchise Was the Right Fit for these Family-Oriented Owners

It’s not uncommon for sellers to become buyers within the Winmark two-tiered resale business model.

In the case of Once Upon A Child® franchisees Ben and Sara Whittington, it was the power of this exceptional business model that drew their interest.


Winmark’s Once Upon A Child, Style Encore®, Plato’s Closet®, Play It Again Sports® and Music Go Round® franchises offer sellers the unique value proposition to breathe new life into their quality used items by reselling them for cash on the spot.

They didn’t just admire the brand enough to make a few purchases – they liked the concept so much they decided to become children’s resale business owners.

The First Steps of Franchising and Business Ownership

In 2016, Ben and Sara opened their first Once Upon A Child store in Johnson City, Tennessee, after shopping at the resale concept several times before.

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“The first time we went into a Once Upon A Child store, we were looking for affordable clothing and other children’s goods for my two daughters,” Ben said. “We thought the store was such a phenomenal concept because it was a great way to save money, and the model was also inherently environmentally conscious because of the recycling aspect.”

By selling gently used items to the children’s resale concept, new parents keep millions of pounds of clothing, toys and other goods out of landfills.

Finding renewed purpose in their children’s outgrown or underused products also helps sellers discourage overproduction and avoid countless negative environmental consequences – especially when they’re able to limit waste from toys and other plastic-heavy children’s items.

A Concept That’s All in the Family

The more the Whittingtons looked into the Once Upon A Child franchise opportunity, the more they realized it was a strong investment, and a business that they could feel good about running.

“We saw the benefit it offered our family with cost savings, which is obviously very important when you’re saving for your kids’ future, and your children are constantly outgrowing all their clothes,” Ben said. “Plus, the sustainability of the business really resonated with us because when you have children and a family, you also inevitably think of the future in that respect even more.”

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The Whittington family remains a central part of the business’ day-to-day operations and success. Ben and Sara are co-owners of their Johnson City franchise, and Sara’s sister Tara came aboard as the store manager.

Outgrowing the Single-Store Footprint

Just recently, Ben and Sara expanded their footprint to also include a second Once Upon A Child franchise in Kingsport, Tennessee, where Tara has a hands-on role as regional manager. Tara’s daughter, Madison, also works in the business as assistant manager of the new Kingsport location.

“Even when we first started out, we knew we wanted more than one location, so we were thrilled to open our second Once Upon A Child this summer,” Ben said. “We did extensive online research before investing in the franchise, but after meeting the Winmark team and going through the training, the opportunity turned out better than we even expected – especially when it came to all the support they offered.”

With a background as a chemical engineer and actuary, respectively, Ben and Sara had no prior experience as franchisees or business owners. Nevertheless, they found strong, steady and sustainable success with the children’s resale concept ever since their first store opening.

“There’s always going to be an initial learning curve, but after understanding the ins and outs of the Winmark point-of-sale, inventory management and other systems, the franchise proved to be an even better investment than we expected,” Ben said.

Right on the heels of their second Once Upon A Child’s grand opening this June, Ben says they are looking forward to additional growth and expansion with another Once Upon A Child franchise or other Winmark resale concept.

“Especially when it came to site selection and store design, we really built upon our successes from our first Once Upon A Child, and we are hoping to expand even more beyond the second location, with compounded success,” Ben said. “Ideally, we would love to open between three and five franchises under the Winmark brand umbrella, since their resale business model and corporate support have been so amazing and integral to our year-over-year sales growth.”

Are you ready to become part of a family of fast-growing resale franchise brands? Contact us today to learn more about franchising with Winmark.