Winmark - the Resale Company® is home to dozens of long-time franchisees. For Marnie McKnight, her journey started all the way back in 2000, when she opened her first Once Upon a Child® store in the Bloomington, Indiana market.
An additional Once Upon A Child, three Style Encore®s and one Plato’s Closet® later, Marnie spends her days running her six Winmark locations with her daughter and long-time team.
Beginning Her Entrepreneurial Journey
Before becoming a Winmark franchisee, Marnie expressed her love for the community by working in college admissions. There was a Once Upon A Child store in her town, and over time, she got to know the owner. When she relocated back to her hometown, she noticed there wasn’t anything like it around.
She had just had a baby and wanted to stay at home with her, but she also wanted to find a flexible opportunity that would still allow her to work. She knew a Once Upon A Child store would fill the gap in her community and give her a fresh start in her career, so she reached out to the franchising team.
Growing with Her Winmark Resale Stores
Though she’d never owned a business, franchising with Winmark made the transition to entrepreneurship a smooth one. They already had a proven model and Point-of-Sale system in place, and they provided support with everything site selection to her grand opening.
“As I learned how to run my business, the Winmark team was always there to fill in the gaps,” Marnie explained. “As long as I was willing to learn, they were willing to teach me.”
Marnie participated in two weeks of training and worked in other Winmark stores to learn the ins and outs of the business. Today, she works on administrative tasks from her home office, travels between her stores and manages her inventory with her husband.
Meanwhile, her 23-year-old daughter works as an Assistant Manager for Once Upon a Child and does the marketing for all six of her stores.
Giving Back to Her Community
Marnie’s favorite part of owning her resale stores is the opportunity to support her community. From events to nonprofits and employment opportunities, Marnie and her team are always finding ways to give back.
Her Plato’s Closet store works closely with a suicide prevention group and hosts toy drives during the holiday season. Her businesses also do diaper drives and support the local NICU. Her resale stores even support local sports teams - from basketball to baseball and everything in between.
Marnie is a member of her local Chamber of Commerce and loves bringing job opportunities to the community. The first employee she ever hired, her Office Manager, still works for her, and her District Managers have been around for over 15 years, with one of them starting as a store associate at the age of 14 and working her way up!
Getting Started With A Sustainable Resale Business
Throughout the years, Marnie relied on her businesses to support her four children, provide financial reliability and work-life balance.
“I’m so glad I went with a franchise. I really feel like I wouldn’t have been as successful without Winmark, from the brand recognition to their ongoing support,” she explained.
Marnie also appreciates the freedom she has when it comes to running her business.
“Of course, there are important standards to follow, but also flexibility for franchisees to be creative. Winmark trusts that we know our markets well. Even though I’m part of a franchise, it’s my store, and that’s what sets them apart.”
Are you looking for a sustainable business with a franchise offering 365-degree support? Click here to learn more about opening a Winmark resale store in your area!