WAHOO — What started as a way to reduce boredom during the pandemic has turned into a brick-and-mortar business for a Yutan couple.
Kristy and Dave Christensen opened Sadie’s Treasure Chest in downtown Wahoo at the end of August. The sell a wide variety of general merchandise sourced from warehouse liquidators.
After purchasing pallets of goods from locations in Fremont and Hamilton, Iowa, Dave and Kristy have no idea what they have actually bought, although they ask for general merchandise.
“We never know what’s going to be on the pallets,” Kristy said.
The pallets usually include a good selection of items, including baby and pet supplies, furniture, small appliances and clothing.
“It gives us a good variety for our store,” said Kristy.
Last year right before Thanksgiving, Dave was exposed to COVID-19 and required to quarantine at his home. The automobile mechanic, who works at Leeder Automotive in Yutan, did not test positive for the virus in the end.
Because he felt fine, Dave was bored sitting at home. That’s when he learned about buying pallets of merchandise that has either been returned or has boxes that are slightly damaged. Then buyers can resell the items.
“He saw on YouTube that other people were doing this kind of thing,” Kristy said.
As they started out on their reselling venture, Kristy and Dave sold items online, at a garage sale in June and during a pop-up shop at the Yutan Country Club. They stowed the merchandise in storage units.
Two days before the pop-up shop, they learned about a vacant storefront in Wahoo. The former home of Region V Services was available on Broadway Street in the heart of downtown.
Dave and Kristy jumped at the opportunity. The timing was great, because instead of hauling the merchandise back to the storage units after the pop-up event, building owners Tracy and Bob Johnson allowed them to bring the items that didn’t sell directly to the new store.
Sadie’s Treasure Chest opened in time for the Bargains for You on 92 event in late August that drew customers from across the state to sales along Highway 92.
The name of the store comes from the couple’s newest — and arguably favorite — dog.
Sadie is an adolescent bulldog that joined the family’s two other dogs, a black lab/German shepherd mix and an English springer spaniel, about 16 months ago.
“Sadie’s our hero, our mascot, the center of our world,” Kristy said with a bit of humor in her voice.
When trying to come up with a name for the store, Kristy first started looking for domain names. As Sadie was lying at her feet, she typed in “Sadie’s Treasure Chest” and found it was available. It was meant to be.
Kristy and Dave said the Wahoo business community has been very welcoming since they opened the store.
“We’ve had a lot of local businesspeople come in and check us out,” Kristy said.
Being in downtown Wahoo has given Kristy and Dave a new view on the community’s effort to preserve the atmosphere of a small town where people take their dogs for a walk or stroll through downtown after having a bite to eat at a local restaurant.
“In Omaha, they’re trying to recreate the type of environment Wahoo just naturally has and has never lost,” Kristy said.
Both Kristy and Dave have full-time jobs. Kristy is a registered nurse. She works from home for an Omaha health care facility. As a result, the hours for Sadie’s Treasure Chest are limited for now. They are open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
They began their side business as a pre-retirement plan for Dave, who will have to step back from the physically demanding work as an auto mechanic someday, Kristy said.
In addition to sharing duties at the store, Dave and Kristy also sell merchandise through Amazon.
“Most of the things we have in the store are cross-listed on Amazon,” Kristy said.
Purchasing items through Amazon costs 30% to 40% more than buying them in the store because of fess charged by Amazon, according to Kristy.
Because they are also selling online, they are constantly moving merchandise in the store as well.
“That’s why our inventory transitions so quickly,” Kristy said.