The Beginnings of Real Deals
As the southern textile industry was disappearing, Stan and Robin Atkins purchased an old cotton mill in the small town of Jefferson in North Georgia. In 1998, they started selling great-looking low-cost home furnishings out of the 1 1/2 acre second floor where the corduroy finishing plant had been. Because of the low overhead of the mill, they could stack it deep and sell it cheap.
By 2001, Jeff and Marisa Humphrey had discovered the mill and were some of its greatest fans. They shopped there frequently and Marisa always brought out-of-town guests (mainly any of her four sisters) to shop the mill. They'd fill up largest possible shippable boxes and mail it back to their homes.
After the Humphreys had frequent visits with Stan while shopping, he saw their enthusiasm for the mill said, You're in the wrong business! In early 2003, the Humphreys renovated the bottom floor of the mill and started a new business concept, Real Deals on Furniture, a 2-acre showroom of discount designer furniture and home decor. It was an instant success.
A Franchise is Unknowingly Born
Meanwhile, Marisa's little sister Carie Kelsey and her husband Nate, who had just finished graduate school, we're just getting started in Twin Falls, Idaho. Knowing the Kelsey's were broke after school, Marisa told Carie she was ordering her $10,000 of home décor goods...and she better find a place to sell them. In December 2003, Carie and Nate opened the first Real Deals store in Twin Falls, Idaho. They literally started upstairs in three small office rooms of an old creamery in a less-desirable part of town. These 400 square feet were all they needed to get the ball rolling. They opened one day a week and pulled décor out in the hallway for more space. After almost a year, they moved to the first floor of the creamery into 4,200 square feet and began opening on Saturdays as well. Things really took off then.
Marisa and Carie's oldest sister Karmelle soon opened mini-co-op stores in Pocatello and Idaho Falls, Idaho. Another sister, Wendy, also opened in Bend, Oregon. Dori, the fifth and final sister, opened a store in Boise just a few months ago.
Back in Georgia in 2004, the Humphreys started a direct import company Jackson & Harrison Imports named after their two sons. Then in May 2006, the Humphreys bought the upstairs home furnishings business from the Atkins. And a franchise was born!
I was in there last week and it is brimming with christmas so if you want to do a little pre-sale with them and check out there great deals visit their store at:
1320 Liberty Street Northeast
Salem, OR 97301(503) 385-1174
Or join them on Facebook! (I did and got a reminder for their sale and got 15% off)
Willamette Valley Vinyards
Elegant, Classic Oregon Wines
“Our mission in growing cool-climate varietals is to create elegant, classic Oregon wines from the Willamette Valley Appellation. As native Oregonians, we treasure our environment and use sustainable practices in growing and vinifying our winegrapes.”
- Jim Bernau, Founder/President
Our approach is to grow, by hand, the highest quality fruit using careful canopy management, and to achieve wines that are truly expressive of the varietal and the place where they are grown. Since we ferment and barrel each vineyard lot separately (sometimes as small as two barrels) we can save the best barrels for single vineyard bottlings and Signature Cuvée.
So make sure you come and sample some of their amazing selections that they are tasting at the Faire!