Heather Oltmanns, owner of the Twice Treasured Consignment Store at The Cottage in downtown Vinton, held her official ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce on October 24.
Mayor Brad Grose and Chamber of Commerce President Justin Davison congratulated Oltmanns and her husband Todd on their new business and wished them great success.
Oltmanns is the mother of five, and has long dreamed of operating a children’s consignment shop, offering gently-used, quality clothing at a bargain price.
It was her desire “to give moms a better option for getting rid of the clothes that their children so quickly outgrow.” She 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.”
Oltmanns grew up in Virginia, graduating from Nelson County High School in 1993. She earned a degree in elementary education in 2000 from Radford University and then spent the next several years as a stay-at-home mother, living for a time in Tennessee where children’s quality clothing consignment shops were numerous and popular.
In those years, she learned to find quality children’s clothing for her family at reduced prices. She made sure her children dressed well “while saving a ton of money.”
When the family moved back to Virginia in 2014, she quickly realized that the Roanoke-Vinton area did not have a quality children’s consignment store for the many budget-minded moms in the area. So she began to consider opening one herself.
Oltmanns says that the main obstacle she faced when she began to seriously contemplate 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. She signed up for the Gauntlet Business Program and Competition last spring offered by The Advancement Foundation (TAF). Luckily classes were starting the following day for the 2017 session.
The Gauntlet Business Program and Competition is the brainchild of The Advancement Foundation founder and president Annette Patterson, and was established three years ago. It is described as “the region’s largest business competition, and an extraordinary community effort to engage and support small business development.”
In 2017, the program attracted 85 entrepreneurs representing 54 different businesses with plans to open or expand in Vinton, Roanoke County, or Botetourt County. The Gauntlet also involved over 200 regional business leaders supporting the entrepreneurs as advisors.
Gauntlet participants, including Oltmanns, completed a 12-week business program, developed a business plan, and made a presentation in front of a panel of judges to pitch their ventures in the competition. 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 in May. Oltmanns was a Silver Level winner, receiving $3,320 in cash and in prizes.
She said she is excited to begin her business venture and is grateful for the knowledge and push that the Gauntlet Business Program and Competition provided in seeing her dream become a reality.
While looking for an affordable location, the opportunity came up to share a retail space with Annette Patterson and TAF in what had been the Charity Cottage Thrift Store in downtown Vinton. TAF rebranded the store last summer into The Cottage, which sells shabby chic furniture, antique pieces, and uniforms.
Oltmanns and her husband were determined to locate their business in Vinton because of the kindness and support the community had shown to them when their son Elijah was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma when he was in the eighth grade. They celebrated the end of his chemotherapy treatments last February by throwing a party at the Vinton War Memorial for the community who “embraced him throughout his journey.”
Oltmanns has modified her vision of a children’s clothing shop to include adult consignment clothing, jewelry, shoes, and purses as well as children’s items that include apparel, shoes, and toys. Currently, there is a 50 percent off sale which includes brand-named items– for both children and adults– at prices under $3.
Twice Treasured and The Cottage operate the two businesses under one roof in a renovated building on the corner of Pollard Street and Jackson Avenue in downtown Vinton across from the Vinton Library. Oltmanns has one employee, Megan Patton. David Gasink of TAF is in charge of The Cottage sales.
There is parking across the street from Twice Treasured 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. The shop is 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.