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Small Business RevolutionBlog

Behind the Scenes

January 12, 2019

How Fauxyfurr Vintage is Redefining Main Street

Written by Cameron Potts

Leaving the southern Washington state area, we were warned by locals that it could take us up to six hours to drive 185 miles to Arlington, Washington. Apparently, the traffic around Seattle and Everett is brutal.

We scoffed at the notion since, you know, we are from a big city, we are used to traffic. But not like this.

It didn’t take us six hours, but the trek to Arlington was fraught with bumper-to-bumper as we inched our way to the second stop on our 10-town tour. Located roughly three miles off the main highway, Arlington provided a rural, laid-back setting removed from the Seattle traffic corridor.

Olympic Street, which houses Arlington’s Main Street, is a picturesque row of small businesses that run the gamut from coffee shops to yarn stores, bistros to cafes, antiques to vintage clothing. It was there, nestled within The Country Rose that I met Jack Colebourn and Jill Sonsteby, owners of Fauxyfurr Vintage.

The couple, who are partners and business partners, decided they needed to have a brick and mortar space because Arlington made it into the Top 20 of Small Business Revolution – Main Street. Until they heard about the show, they had been selling their vintage boots, hats and other clothing out of a 24-foot trailer they took on the road to rodeos and Blues Festivals. What started as online and then on-the-road became a location in Arlington just late last year.

“We traveled around for three summers doing vintage hats and then expanded to vintage boots,” Colbourne said. “We started to cut down the boots to fit women better, and we customize everything.”

The two have devoured the Small Business Revolution – Main Street series, from the first to the last year. Even though Arlington only had a 1 in 20 shot of winning the contest, they took a leap of faith to open their own shop, renting space from friends in Arlington. They said they felt like they couldn’t pass up the chance to at least have the opportunity to be on the show.

Honestly, that is one of the greatest things about what we do. We received 12,000 nominations from towns across the country. Our team at Deluxe narrowed down the list to the Top 20, and then the Top 10. Eventually, the public will only vote on the five that make it to the final round. And then, when the winning town is announced we will pick from hundreds of businesses to only six that will be featured.

When you think about it, the six businesses are really chosen out of literally millions of small businesses across the US. The odds are the same as a lottery. Yet these entrepreneurs decided to go all-in for even a small chance at having our experts help their business.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are risk takers. It is part of the gig, really. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Colebourn and Sonsteby see the opportunity and are advancing to make it happen. Even if they are never chosen for the show, they’ve proven their business concept at fairs around the country, the next logical step is a shop in their hometown.

Commerce today takes on so many forms, from online sales to portable storefronts to the shop at the corner of your street. Sometimes, as we learned in Season 3 of Small Business Revolution – Main Street, one small business in a community, or a couple, can be a Main Street. Benjamin Golley taught us that when he brought our cameras to Central Alton, Illinois. Colebourne and Sonsteby have created a traveling Main Street, one they can take where their customers are.

And now, they are building a new type of Main Street, one that helps them thrive inside another space. From online to on-the-road to on-premises, these entrepreneurs may change how we view Main Street altogether.

To learn more, go to: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FauxyFurrVintage.

 

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