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| December 2015
in.’” Karen got onboard once again, and they immediately reached out to their manufacturing contacts, who agreed to give them product for .25 cents on the dollar. They quickly secured a spot for only $700 per month. At the time, they were spending $4,000 per month on print and other advertising, so they shifted some of that budget to paying for the new space. “If we sold just one large job per month, we more than paid for the salaries and everything. Tom was creative, and that’s the key to how we survived,” Karen explains. They stayed in the location for three years, shifting some of their employees from the Hendersonville Road location and maintaining the original store. Many of their employees were against the idea, but the Wrights kept the faith. “On paper and with education, it doesn’t always look like something will work. I think people look at us sometimes and think we’re idiots!” Karen says through laughter. Tom chimes in: “Sometimes 2 + 2 = 4 in math. But with exponential ability and the attitude that no one is going to outwork us, sometimes 2+2 equals 40, 60, or even 120.” Tom often mentions having planted seeds that grew into things that have helped the business 5, 10, and 25 years down the road. Taking a chance on opening a second location was one of those seeds. “We bought this massive fireplace that was the focal point for that store. When the mall got bought, we had a liquidation sale. I was actually at an auction one day during this time, trying to buy a truck for the business that I knew I didn’t have the money for. I get a phone call, and one of our employees said a guy wanted to buy that big fireplace. So, I’m negotiating on the phone while bidding at the same time” he says, chuckling at the memory and animating the situation with an imaginary phone and raised bidding hand. They ended up selling the fireplace for $4,500, and Tom bought the truck that they still use today. “Something we did in 2010 to try and stay alive is still serving us today,” he says.
Vol 5 | Ed 12 - Western North Carolina's Business Lifestyle Magazine - Featuring Clyde Hollifield