In the franchising world, success stories often take unique and inspiring forms. The journey of Jessica Peck and Emily Mellon, two sisters who decided to venture into entrepreneurship with Winmark - the Resale Company®—is a testament to the power of unwavering passion and relentless dedication. Jessica and Emily have fostered lasting relationships in their community, and their commitment aligns seamlessly with our mission to provide Resale for Everyone®.
A Vision Becomes Reality
Before embarking on their path as Winmark franchisees, Jessica and Emily had been living in Southern California with their families. As the mother of a 14-year-old son, Jessica often frequented Once Upon a Child® stores as a consumer, which catered to her family's needs perfectly. Jessica couldn't help but notice that her hometown of Chico, California, had a marketplace gap - one that Winmark could fill.
"Around that time, I wanted to start my own business, and my sister and I both said for years that Chico needed a Once Upon a Child store,” Jessica states. “I also wanted a job where I could have that flexibility to be my own boss but still be a mom.”
As fate would have it, in 2017, Jessica and Emily moved back to Chico with their families. Jessica enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom and was actively involved in her son's school, even serving as the PTO President. Still, she shared her vision of opening a Once Upon a Child store in Chico with her sister. After discussing with their cousin, who already owned a Winmark franchise, and talking with their husbands, Jessica and Emily decided it was the best time to venture into the franchising world with Winmark.
Training sessions, interactions with the Winmark team, and guidance from their cousin played a pivotal role in their store’s development and gave them peace of mind. Even when faced with delays and the unexpected challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sisters remained committed to achieving success and opened their store in August 2020.
“We didn’t know what a franchise was or have any experience running a business, and we didn’t understand the Winmark support that we literally could not live without now, there is no way we would have been able to do it without them,” Jessica emphasizes.
A Strong Support System
Jessica and Emily, both first-time business owners, embody the motivation to succeed and the entrepreneurial passion Winmark looks for and values in our franchise partners. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or someone like Jessica and Emily looking for their first franchise opportunity, Winmark offers a rare opportunity to fill a critical marketplace gap many communities face. Our brands fit between those unattainable retail prices and low-quality experiences in the retail industry to offer a polished, sustainable retail format that offers new merchandise and high-quality, eco-friendly items that appeal to many consumers.
What sets Winmark apart is that we ensure our franchisees have continuous support throughout their journeys, no matter how much experience they have running a business. We have been partnering with our franchisees for over 35 years and have a proven track record of success. Our reputation as a recognized resale leader and our decades of stability and franchising experience are just some of the reasons franchisees partner with us, and 99% of them have renewed their agreements with us over the last ten years.
Jessica also highlights that she feels a strong sense of belonging as a Winmark franchisee. What started as a business relationship with Winmark has blossomed into lasting friendships among franchisees.
“When we are at conferences it's like seeing old friends," Jessica mentions. "It is kind of like a family, and you feel that support."
Growth and Impact
As sisters working together, Jessica and Emily bring unique strengths to their business and, despite their differences, effectively steer it toward success.
Jessica and Emily have achieved remarkable results since opening Once Upon a Child. They have witnessed significant year-over-year growth and even expanded their business by acquiring a Play It Again Sports® in their area in February of last year. Their efforts have not only enriched their own lives but also the Chico community. One of the most fulfilling aspects of owning their stores is the positive impact they make by offering affordable, high-quality items to families.
"I do have moments as the business matures where I get to see what I bring to the community,” Jessica emphasizes. “I get to hear these stories of people saying our store saved their lives by being able to afford these items, and I get to see people get items that normally they wouldn’t be able to afford.”
Shaping the Community
Jessica and Emily have been giving back to the community in other ways too, which has helped them realize how big their platform with Winmark is. Every year, their store features a Salvation Army Christmas tree. Additionally, before taking items off clearance, they allow their friends, who work with the Boys and Girls Club as social workers, to shop for free. The sisters also ask customers who are selling books that aren’t in good condition if they would like to donate them to free libraries in Chico.
“So we supply, through our store and our customers, books to all the free libraries too,” Jessica mentions. “With Winmark, you get the chance to make a real difference in the world—and these are the things that are personally important to me.”
Are you looking for a rewarding business opportunity that makes a difference in your community? Contact us today to learn more about opening a Winmark store in your area.