In 2014, Amy Gartman was a licensed marriage and family therapist, working at a school when she wasn’t attending to her three kids at home. She and her husband, a business owner, were looking forward to expanding their family, so Amy was seeking a career that would give her a healthier balance.
As the back-to-school season rolled around, she’d send her sister in South Carolina money to go back-to-school shopping for her kids at Once Upon A Child®. It wasn’t long before Amy realized there was a gap in her community that needed to be filled for its own resale store.
Stepping into Franchising
Without an entrepreneurship background, Amy knew that franchising would give her a proven model to work off of when building her business. She talked to her mom, Kim Clark, about her entrepreneurial dream and together, they signed on to open a Once Upon A Child in D’Iberville, MS.
Her mom would do all the bookkeeping for the store, while Amy and her managers handled everything else - from marketing to hiring. In 2018, they decided to open another franchise with Winmark - the Resale Company®; this time, a Plato’s Closet®.
It wasn’t long before Amy was enjoying all the perks that come along with entrepreneurship. Today, with five kids ages 5 through 16, she never misses family or school functions.
“If somebody’s sick, I can stay home with them and know I’ve built a strong team to run the store while I’m gone,” she explained.
She also loves that she has the freedom to run her store, while the Winmark team is always there when she needs them.
“They’re very supportive and if you ever have a question, someone’s there to answer. I’ve never gotten the runaround. They even have a marketing calendar that you can follow,” she said.
Getting Involved in the Community
For Amy, one of the most rewarding parts of being a business owner is giving back to the community. The sustainability aspect of resale also aligns with her family’s values, as they live on a beach and often volunteer in beach cleanups.
Through her business, she and her mom sponsor local baseball teams, participate in fairs for new parents and donate clothes to Junior Auxiliary to be distributed to foster children in need.
Expanding Their Resale Stores
In 2021, after just six years in business, Amy moved her Once Upon A Child store down a block, expanding from 4,000 sq. ft. to over 6,000.
She and her mom have also grown their team substantially. Their original managers still work for them, and they often order pizza and snacks for their hard-working employees.
They know many of their customers by name, and one of them, who came in to shop with her mom when the stores had first opened, is now 16 years old and works for them.
“I’m so thankful that I now have a rewarding career and get to watch my kids grow up all at once,” Amy said.
Looking for a family-oriented resale opportunity that offers 365-degree support and a healthy work/life balance? Contact us today to learn more about opening a Winmark store in your area.