Ten years ago, Nikki Elliott was a stay at home mom with two little boys, married to a dedicated police officer who worked long hours. Although Elliott enjoyed being at home with her boys, she felt that God had additional plans for her. A fun summer project with her mother-in-law fixing up and reselling furniture out of her garage turned into the idea for Encore Home Furnishings.
Elliot initially rented floor space in an antique mall and used her background and degree in computer programming to design a website to advertise inventory. After a few months of unexpected success, Elliott opened a small store in Bunn Village with a friend. Their business plan was to fill the gap in the marketplace between cheap thrift store furniture and expensive, brand new furniture, by selling gently-used consignments and new factory seconds.
Within the first two weeks after opening, Encore sold half of its inventory and customers from as far away as Vancouver and Eugene were driving to McMinnville to buy furniture. This is when Elliott knew she was really on to something. Over the next seven years, Elliott became the sole proprietor and gradually expanded the business to include eight buildings in Bunn Village.
She worked hard to refine her business model, bringing in new sources of factory seconds, outdoor furniture seasonally, and brand-new mattresses and living room furniture made in the Northwest. In 2013 she moved the store across Bunn Road to a new location with 15,000 square feet and business continued to increase.
In December of 2015 Elliott and her husband purchased the property and buildings at their new location and are currently in the process of adding an additional 10,000 square feet to their location.
Elliott wants people to know that Encore is a family-owned and operated business, employing over 25 individuals (including her three kids who are homeschooled) and four local sub-contractors. Encore staff focus on providing customers with amazing service and always stand behind the products they sell. The store offers financing options and layaway, as well as delivery for customers within 250 miles of McMinnville.
Encore is involved in the community by donating products to local schools and organizations, and often helps individual families as needs arise. Encore is different from other furniture stores because it carries brand name items priced at 40 to 80 percent off retail, and over half of their inventory changes each month.
They also keep their entire inventory updated online and loyal customers say that Encore goes “above and beyond.”
New and returning customers are greeted by friendly and helpful staff, often visiting the store for their weekly cookie and coffee fix and to see the newest inventory. Elliott says that she couldn’t have opened Encore without the support of the community, who recognizes the importance of small, family-owned businesses.
“Businesses in McMinnville take care of each other. We all try to put our money back into the local economy and do the best we can to help and support one another,” she says. Elliott also notes the importance of individuals to try to shop locally. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of my family and the community, and if I hadn’t been willing to step out in faith and follow this amazing plan God had for my life.”
Thanks to the thousands of customers over the years who have supported her business, Encore Home Furnishings has grown over the last ten years from Elliot’s garage to nearly 30,000 square feet in combined onsite and offsite storage and created over 25 jobs for the local economy.