By Allison Collins
UNADILLA – Area native Kirsty Roefs is marking two major milestones, as her House of Consignment’s fifteenth birthday coincides with receipt of the Unadilla Chamber of Commerce “Business of the Year” honor.
Roefs, who found out after the chamber’s April 3 meeting, said the news came as a shock and follows a string of business-related boons.
“I didn’t believe it,” she said. “I was really excited, because it’s all coming together for me this year: I’m open seven days a week and Kevin (Moore) is back, which is amazing. I feel like this is our year.” Moore previously worked alongside Roefs for roughly seven years.
House of Consignment, which has grown to include three-plus floors of housewares and décor; clothing for men, women and children; furniture; shoes and accessories; and a dedicated high-end fashion section, opened in July 2003.
The idea, Roefs said, was one she’d nurtured for a while, though she said it took support from her would-be husband George in the late ‘90s to get things off the ground.
“I wanted to open in ’96, but it was not cool to open a consignment store back then … but I just knew it would work,” she said. “And when I told George in ’98, he did not shoot the idea down. He thought it was great. And now, it’s Year 15 and we’re stronger than ever.” She added that, together, they developed a business plan for years before launching.
Roefs got her start with antique shows and online sales, even writing a how-to manual appropriately titled “Consignment from Home.”
Housing the business in her actual home, she said, was an important, if unconventional, part of the plan.
“Initially, I did it to subsidize my income and still be able to stay home with the kids,” she explained, “but now House of Consignment is my biggest child and it’s growing like mad.” Roefs, who continues her entrepreneurial education by attending and presenting at national business conferences, said fellow storeowners are usually “shocked” to hear she’s been in business for nearly two decades, always with her children by her side.