Today we introduce you to Juli Cuthbertson, owner of Oak Street Home Market located in downtown Roanoke, TX.
When did you start your business?
We opened in July 2017.
What made you want to start this business?
My husband and I recently moved here about a year ago from Kansas. Previously I owned a restaurant in Kansas. I owned that restaurant for ten years, but we sold it and moved down here to Texas. I stayed home for a year, but after about a year, I decided it was time to get out and do something. I didn't really want to go back into the restaurant business again. There are quite a few locally owned and really great restaurants here in downtown Roanoke and I just didn't want to get back into working seventy and eighty hour weeks anymore.
We started looking into what are growing markets in the area, and we looked at the housing market. Housing and construction is a booming industry right now in the area. We noticed in the development that we live, there are currently 600 homes, but by the time it's complete, there will be 2,600 homes. There is a new development going in and across the street from ours. There are others being built up towards Argyle and Lantana. We noticed there are all of these developments that are near us that are just really booming. I decided to look into home decor and that kind of seems to be our niche. We do home decor and gifts. I wanted to have something that was a little bit unique and very reasonably priced. That was really our thing, we wanted to offer nice high-end home goods at reasonable prices. I love to change out things at our house, and we decorate quite a bit seasonally, but I don't want to spend an arm and a leg.
We found this great location about 1300 sq. feet, right in downtown Roanoke across from Hard Eight Barbecue. We do offer some seasonal items but we also have some gifts. Right now we are bringing in quite a few gifts for the Christmas season. We stock things like teacher’s gifts and things you would get for your dad and gifts you would buy for your brother and just some unique different things. We try to buy from vendors that you don't normally see around here.
So that is how we decided on this business. I have some really good friends in Kansas that are my mentor for this store. They have a huge hugely successful shop and I often called them and talked to them about what kind of growth we were seeing with the home building and construction and they've basically held my hand through this process.
What was the toughest thing that you went through when opening or did you run across any hurdles?
I think our biggest challenge now is getting the word out that we're open and we're here. One of the challenges we did have is the building that we've rented has had several different businesses in it fairly recently. I would say maybe two or three in the last couple years. From owning a business before, you never want to go into a building where other businesses have failed. So that's part of the stigma that we have to get over is that we are different from the one that was here prior, but also just getting the word out that we're here. We do quite a bit of Facebook advertising, and we advertise in Cross Timbers Gazette. We also expect to see more people when they bring the Peabody Hotel in which is going to about a block and a half from our location. Also, downtown Roanoke does a really good job of promoting itself and the businesses and things like that so it's just time, and getting the word out is a bit of a challenge.
We do have shopper friendly hours we stay open until 8pm every night because that is when a lot of people are down here eating dinner and walking around. So a few our challenges come because other businesses closed down early so people are not in the habit of walking around. We make sure all the lights are on, and we keep stuff outside so that people can tell that are open. We want to be open when people are down here to shop which is in the evenings and weekends, and that's when we're open.
What are the short-term goals that you want where do you see Oak Street Home Market in the next six months to a year?
Of course, increasing sales which I think is any small business owner’s goals. We just are finishing up our splash page for our website the next step to that is online shopping and then its live videos.
We also are looking and just are working out the details on renting a smaller second location in Highland Village. This is really good for a business of our size, because when you work with certain vendor sometimes they require you buy four, six, eight of certain things. So this will give us two locations to spread things out. Also, the Highland Village location is going to be a lot smaller, and it is going to bring people into this our larger main location.
So our short-term goals are the bigger web presence, online shopping, and then there's the little bit longer term goals of opening our second location.