Heather Oltmanns is the mother of five so she has quite a bit of experience in purchasing clothes for children.
She said that for years she has toyed with the idea of opening a children’s clothing consignment shop. On August 4, her dream will become reality when “Twice Treasured” opens on Pollard Street in downtown Vinton.
While she has lived most of her life in Vinton, she and her family lived for a while in Tennessee.
“While living in Tennessee, I was able to see not only your typical thrift stores and ‘Once Upon a Child’s,’ but also stores that were kids’ consignment shops,” says Oltmanns. “Here we have the semi-annual kids’ consignment sales that pop up in various locations– churches, the civic center, etc., but people in our area do not have the opportunity to sell their children’s clothes for a decent amount of money on an ongoing basis. Kids grow so fast, especially when they are younger; parents need to have more affordable options for clothes more than twice a year.”
Oltmanns wanted to offer parents the opportunity to turn their children’s outgrown clothes into a profit and shoppers the chance to find brand name quality clothes at a fraction of the cost.
One obstacle she faced when considering opening her own shop was that she knew basically nothing about what was involved in starting up a business. Someone recommended that she go over to the HIVE Business Incubation Center in Vinton and talk with them.
“I did that and the ladies there told me about the Gauntlet program; classes were beginning the very next day, so I signed up,” said Oltmanns.
The Gauntlet Business Program and Competition is the brainchild of The Advancement Foundation founder and president Annette Patterson. She describes it as “the region’s largest business competition, and an extraordinary community effort to engage and support small business development.” his year the program attracted 85 entrepreneurs representing 54 different business which will be opening or expanding in Vinton, Roanoke County, or Botetourt County.
Oltmanns says she was hoping to gain the information she needed to open the business and to win the Gauntlet to make the business and her dream a reality. She had prior business experience with years in customer service and also as assistant manager of a 20-plex movie theater for several years.
Gauntlet participants completed a 12-week business program, developed a business plan, and made a presentation in front of a panel of judges to pitch their businesses. A total of $200,000 in cash and in-kind prizes was divvied up among participating businesses based on their identified needs at an awards ceremony at the Vinton War Memorial on May 11. The Gauntlet program also involved over 200 regional business leaders supporting the program as advisors to the entrepreneurs.
Oltmanns was a Silver Level winner, receiving $3320 in total– $1,000 in cash and $2,320 in prizes. Her prizes include a two-hour design space with Better Building Works, a promotional short video from Wanda Ayala, five hours of business consulting from Streamline Consulting, and financial consulting from Wendy Jones Accounting.
Once the Gauntlet program ended, Oltmanns began trying to find an affordable location in Vinton without much luck. She considered starting her business out online, but then the opportunity came up to share a retail space through Annette Patterson and TAF in what had been the Charity Cottage Thrift Store. She modified her vision of a children’s clothing shop to include adult consignment clothing, jewelry, and purses as well. Children’s items will include clothing, shoes, and toys.
The Charity Cottage Thrift Store was established “to raise funding for multiple nonprofits while also providing a venue for active life changing experiences of the underprivileged. The shop provided quality products at discounted prices. The profits made from the store were generated back into local non-profit organizations.”
Patterson says that recently TAF decided to re-brand the Vinton shop.
“The new name is The Cottage featuring the anchor tenant, Twice Treasured, which will sell gently used children’s and adult clothes,” said Patterson. “The Cottage will feature household decor and nice furniture, including our own line of shabby chic furniture. Heather Oltmanns will serve as the store design manager and David Gasink will manage overall operations.
“Sales at The Cottage will continue to support the mission of The Advancement Foundation in expanding opportunities for citizens to advance their lives,” added Patterson. “We are seeking volunteers interested in helping in the new store and anyone interested in donating furniture and nicer clothing.”
Oltmanns says the building will now house the two businesses in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Twice Treasured will hold a special “consignors only sale on the evening of August 2,” and then doors will open to the public on Friday, August 4 at 9 a.m. with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony to follow later.
Kathleen Carr, Outreach Coordinator for TAF says, “Heather has done an amazing job transforming the space and we think she will do very well in Vinton.”
Twice Treasured is located at the corner of Pollard Street and Jackson Avenue across from the Vinton Library. There is parking across the street on Pollard, on side streets, and in the Municipal Building parking lot.
Business hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 until 5. It will be closed on Sundays.
Individuals who would like to sell articles on consignment at Twice Treasured may stop by the store or contact Oltmanns online at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-242-8882. Sellers set the price of their own items.