By Ray Morgan
At the intersection of I-40 and Union Cross Road, on the far southern edge of Kernersville under a standard, unassuming sign, lies a slice of something special. Southern, for sure, with a healthy dose of local, and a strong emphasis on family, that’s Smith & Co. Consignment. Lisa Smith, first a mom of 4, but also sole proprietor, counselor, friend, and sometimes shoulder, sat down with our Ray Morgan to talk about her journey and reaching the 3 year mark since she opened the doors.
Ray: Lisa, thanks for taking a bit out of a very busy day to talk with us. Congratulations on reaching your 3rd anniversary! How does that feel?
Lisa: Oh, it feels amazing, and quite surreal at times, especially when I think back to when it was still just a dream of mine. We are blessed every day by the folks who come into the shop. Our customers, consignors, our regulars, those who come in every once in a while, those just traveling through, and newcomers make every day something special.
Ray: Did I hear correctly that Smith & Co. Consignment is a family affair?
Lisa: Yes, my husband Tim and my youngest son, James along with his best friend and fellow offensive lineman for East Forsyth High School, Caleb, handle most of our pick up and deliveries. They make it look easy but certainly earn every penny they make. They work hard and are very polite and respectful, which is in their job description by the way! Tim, aside from being my biggest supporter, is also our painter and refinisher. Our basement is full of projects in the waiting! Poor guy, in addition to working his other full time job, he is picking up and delivering furniture well into the evening and is later grabbing the sander and paint brush to finish the latest piece for the shop.
My daughter Laura has learned to do so many valuable tasks in this business, but more importantly she is learning the value of good customer service. And on those really hard, trying days that all business owners have, she has been a true encourager for which I will be forever grateful. I also hope that she along with her 3 brothers have learned from me to not be afraid to try something they want to accomplish and to never give up.
Our pricing room fills up so often and my sister, also named Laura, shows up to help catch things up! She is a huge moral support for me as well. My brother Darrell is a natural in the business world and he has been a tremendous help to me in that respect as well as with our computer and security systems. Yeah, at one point or another, my whole family has been here to help us.
Robyn is our sales associate of the month, every month! That’s an inside joke here in the shop, but it’s true. I wouldn’t have made it this far without her. She is so friendly and helpful to our customers and oh so organized, which in this business is a necessity for sure. Ruth is also a tremendous asset with her interior design talent and never ending knowledge in the furniture industry. Robyn nor Ruth are blood related but I would definitely say they are both family. I will be forever indebted to them for hanging in there with me through these first few challenging years. Everyone knows they are not always easy. We have come so far. It is amazing.
Ray: Does Smith & Co. Consignment look like you thought it would 3 years ago?
Lisa: On a simple level, yes, because we are still a consignment shop, but I have learned and grown so much. I have been given some remarkable opportunities. For example, I never expected the connection I would have with so many of my consignors and customers. What some folks have gone through reminds me to be so grateful in my own life. Sometimes clients simply are not a good fit for our shop and if not, I will help connect them to other agencies, non profits, or even other shops that may better suit their needs. It is all about helping the client and serving our community.
Over the past 3 years, I have also had to make some hard choices over what I will and will not accept on consignment. Furniture must be in really good condition and also be the styles people are looking for. Clothing and accessories basically needs to be the same way. We are picky for a reason. We say no to smoke smells, pet hair, and wrinkles. These kinds of things can ruin a shop and certainly do not sell. I want to be able to offer my customers good quality brands in fashion, furniture and home decor, at prices that can’t be beat.
We did make a change a couple years ago. All our clothing, shoes, purses, and jewelry that we are unable to sell and are not picked up by our consignors get donated to The Shalom Project in Winston-Salem. They give the clothes out for free during a weekly clothing closet ministry along with their food pantry and free medical clinic. My consignors love the fact that their unsold items are being given to those in need. That makes me feel good too, knowing we are giving back.
One thing I have found amazing is how comfortable my customers feel when they are in the shop. So many come by and open up about what’s happening in their lives. We have laughed and cried together. I hear all the time what a good vibe the shop has and that is exactly what I wanted for my customers, a place where they can find quality items at great prices while shopping in a clean, comfortable, friendly, and relaxed atmosphere. I know it’s not me as much as it is God’s presence and blessing.
It is also very important to me that my consignors feel they can always trust us with their items on consignment . We are here to do the right thing for people, and that has been my motto from the beginning.
Ray: What do you see happening in the next 3 years?
Lisa: I’ve learned enough from God not to try and guess, but in my heart, Smith & Co. Consignment is only going to get bigger and better! I would love to be able to expand and offer more furniture, especially seeing how the Triad appears to be growing right now. I am also hoping my husband can make the time to build some furniture and home decor pieces as he is quite talented in the woodworking field. That’s a skill he learned from his father who passed away before we opened our shop. He would be proud and happy for us as he heard me talk about this dream for so long and used to get so excited about the idea. I guess you can tell we still miss him very much.
As for my part in the next 3 years, I plan to continue to work on myself. I plan to work hard and smart on this business and continue to trust God for the rest. He is in control and that is just how it should be. He planted the seed of this idea for a shop many years ago and I truly believe he will help me to see it through. He is so good.
Smith & Co. Consignment
Call Us Today! 336 497-5290
Address: 1515 Union Cross Rd, Kernersville, NC 27284
I-40 at the Union Cross Road Exit, Union Cross Station Shopping Center