Welcome to The Forum’s Business Owner Highlight Series! Meet our incredible business owners through these insightful interviews sharing how their business originated, its specialties, and personal anecdotes. Enjoy!
1. What is your full name, title, and the name of your business?
Jeannie Cooley, Owner, Home Again Wilmington
2. What is the background story of your business? What was it that inspired you to start it?
The question Jeannie Cooley was asked most by her friends when she told them she was opening a furniture consignment store in Wilmington was ‘are you nuts?’
It was a fair question. The year was 2009, the economy was in the doldrums, and Cooley had never been in retail. Her background for the previous 20+ years, was as a senior executive in the wholesale side of the furniture industry, managing sales and marketing for two national furniture brands. Her responsibilities included product development, requiring frequent travel to South America, Europe and Asia, plus managing 8+ trade shows per year.
Cooley hoped for a career change that would allow her to spend more time at home in Wilmington, where she has lived since 1989. While traveling for business, she happened upon a consignment store that she felt would be successful in Wilmington, as they offered only current furnishings in excellent condition. The idea to open a similar store took hold, and within a month, Cooley had leased space in what was formerly The Galleria near Wrightsville Beach.
Even early on, the store grew a steady clientele. In addition to consignments, Cooley began to offer brand-new merchandise, taking advantage of her in-depth knowledge of the furniture industry. With value as the goal, Home Again’s assortment includes showroom samples from the High Point Furniture Market, as well as manufacturer close-outs and overstocks. Inventory changes quickly and there is always something new in the store every day.
Because the company is celebrating its 11th year in business, and have been honored to receive ‘Best Furniture Consignment Store’ by readers of Wilmington Magazine, and ‘Best Local Furniture Store’ by readers of the Wilmington Star-News. Cooley credits the store’s success to staying true to its mission, “We are committed to be a friendly, non-intimidating place to shop. Where our customers feel welcomed and valued, and they can find a bargain, week after week, no matter their budget. It has been so rewarding to be able to do what I love in the town I love.”
3. What does your business specialize in?
Home furnishings & decor, both new and consigned.
4. What brings you the greatest joy in managing/owning this business?
When someone finds the perfect item to enhance their home…at a bargain!
5. What’s one fun fact about your business that most people don’t know about?
At the center of the Home Again’s logo you will find a cross. That is by design, as it is the foundation the business is built upon.
6. Why do you believe it’s important to shop local?
Covid-19 has driven home to all of us how important it is to keep your shopping dollars local. While it can be easier to ‘push a button’ to get what you need from a massive online retailer, we have been reminded that local businesses are the backbone of a community. The folks who contribute week-in and week-out to causes that support our community, and who appreciate your support in the good times and the bad.