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Industry News: Working Together for Success

Industry News: Working Together for Success

Working Together Brings Success to All
Reprinted with permission from Retailing Insight Magazine.

Recently, Retailing Insight Magazine sat down with two retailers, Jamie Darling of Darling’s Fine Things in Newport, Arkansas and Marti Tolleson of Two Friends, in St. Simons Island, Georgia. They have formed a unique friendship over the years and have become a sounding board and cheerleader for each other as they each navigate and succeed in the world of specialty retail.

Darling’s Fine Things is a women’s clothing, gift, and accessories store. Darling’s family has owned an independent pharmacy for many years in Newport. “As times changed, many of the small shops in our town disappeared,” Darling said. “There was nowhere to shop. Gradually, we added more gift items and lines in our pharmacy. My mother had impeccable taste. She had a natural eye and gift to mix and use new and old, expensive to affordable in décor and accessories. She led the way as we began this adventure,” Darling added.

With the sterling silver jewelry business that was booming in the early 1990s, the pharmacy bought jewelry display cases and began to fill them with fabulous sterling silver jewelry. “We had some of the best resources in the country and people came from all over to shop our jewelry and unusual gift selections. We became a destination shop in our little town,” Darling said. “The people in our area craved a great place to shop and were tired of always having to drive to buy clothing, gifts, and accessories. So, our gift and accessory business grew,” she said. In 2005, Darling’s Fine Things opened when they purchased the vacant home next to the pharmacy and added a 2,000 square-foot retail space. 

Tolleson’s Two Friends store began in Perry, Georgia then opened a second location in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Hers is a lifestyle store with almost every category imaginable. “I buy things I love,” Tolleson exclaimed. Tolleson began her retail adventure with a friend and partner in 2000. “For us, we started by doing shows in our home and our friends and customers kept begging for us to open a ‘real’ store,” Tolleson said. “We were both young moms and we decided that we could do this if we had the proper staff. We found the right gal to help us so we took a leap of faith. We were able to both be moms and fulfill a passion at the same time!” They grew the business for nine years until they both moved out of the area. Tolleson kept the Perry store for three years after moving before selling it to her former manager. After moving to St. Simons Island, Georgia, she opened a location there in 2010.

Read the entire article here and learn how working together can bring success to all involved.

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