Who's Behind Tobacco Road Downsizing?
"Who are you and why should I support your business?" - Danielle W.
Spoiler. Danielle already supports our business. She just moved into a new home and has been busy buying up treasures to furnish it with! She also (in our humble opinion) is one of the best chocolate makers in Chapel Hill - more details- click here.
She posed this question and we'd love to share the answer, so, behold! The first "interview" with Tobacco Road Downsizing co-owners, Morgan Breakey and Mariah Cope, where we answer her question.
First, some background!
We're sisters! We were both born and raised in a small town in Western New York where we shared a bedroom for 9 (ish) years. For the first year of my life, Mariah used to sneak me from my crib to snuggle me. She later taught me how the world works and invited me to do all the cool things big sisters do. She still does this today.
Photo of us when we were little, provided for your enjoyment and our mortification.
Throughout our childhood, we learned the resale business. Our parents took us to farm auctions, estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores. We were both introduced early on how to get better quality items at a fraction of their retail price. This included everything from farm animals to furniture. Antiques to fun toys.
Why buy items at full price, when you can get the same or better items for less?
And that's where our obsession began.
Mariah moved away from home for college and then ultimately to North Carolina. So when it was time for me to begin college, I chose Meredith College, in Raleigh, where we were reunited once again. We took up the life long hobby again; going to estate sales, downsizing sales, yard sales and the flea market any chance we got.
It was ingrained in us. We wouldn't stay away from bargain shopping. We got into the business of tag sales in 2014. In 2019, we started Tobacco Road Downsizing, our independent, family owned company.
Which leads us to the question asked from Danielle.
"Who are we now and why should you support our business?"
For the sake of ease, we'll do this interview style with Mariah going first.
Tell readers about you: I'm Mariah! I've lived in North Carolina for 13 years, almost a native! I have 4 beautiful kiddos who are 13, 11, 6 and 3.
On the rare weekend off, I love visiting the farmers market. I love supporting other small business, especially those run by women! I'm currently invested in working on my "fixer-upper" house in Hillsborough (call me Jo-Jo!) while aspiring to have a small hobby farm in the future.
Why do you love owning Tobacco Road Downsizing?: The freedom of working for myself is high on that list, but I also love working with our team to set up and run the sales. We've handpicked our team that works with us, some for over 5 years! I love that our team lives and works in our community.
This job also allows us to make friends with some really interesting community members! Whether they're homeowners in a pinch or shoppers just trying to make sure they get the most bang for their buck, everyone has a story.
We get to hear firsthand why clients are downsizing and hear the excitement of customers sharing what they're planning to do with their new purchases. We love making sure those two forces can meet in the middle with us being the intermediary.
What do you personally collect? *Laughs....* Well, my husband and I fell in love over our shared obsession of trying to buy every pattern of Pyrex that's ever existed on weekend jaunts to the flea market, yard sales or antique stores. We downsized our collection substantially when we moved because we actually got close to owning all of the patterns.
Now I collect cast iron (Le Creuset, Griswold, Staub), crystals and Native American jewelry.
Tell readers about you: Hi! I'm Morgan. I have one son, who's 7 years old. I'm a food lover and love sitting down to have drinks or explore a new restaurant with my friends. I'm a self proclaimed bookworm and currently obsessed with finishing my first hand-sewn, hand quilted quilt (1+ years in the making). Testing out my patience.
Why do you love owning Tobacco Road Downsizing?: I love how much freedom having our own business has brought us. We're there to make sure we have breakfast with our kids and we're home for dinner every night. Owning our own company means we can stretch farther, make bigger dreams happen and still stick to our roots of being "green".
It brings us both a lot of pride to know that our clients have the most "hands on" downsizing / tag sale company in their corner. When we started Tobacco Road Downsizing, our goal wasn't to have the most sales per weekend or to "drive competitors out of the business". We made a conscious decision that we never wanted to feel overwhelmed with our job and we would rather make sure each client had the best possible experience than try to squeeze in another sale per weekend.
Staging houses is my favorite phase of each sale. I love opening boxes for the first time in years, it's like Christmas!
What do you personally collect? Tiny things! I have this adorable back-lit shelf that I picked up at Liberty Antique Festival a few years ago and it has about 20 shelves inside that are each about an inch tall. They're all lined with sterling napkin rings, some beautiful pieces of costume jewelry, glass marbles and other things I couldn't resist because they're so cute!
Joint question: Why should clients and customers support your small business?
When you select Tobacco Road Downsizing, as either a client or a customers, you're supporting local people who also support their local community. We're a team invested in helping other local people downsize and rightsize their home to meet their current phase of life. We truly care about our clients, putting together a well organized and advertised sale and making sure that customers have the best experience possible.
We are a service industry. To us, that means serving our clients and customers and team members with the best experience possible.
Clients love our services because we really are hands on. We both take an active part in meeting clients, setting up sales and then running them. We both aim to be onsite as much as possible throughout the whole process! Clients also make the lion's share of the sale proceeds. We want the people that have trusted us with keys to their home and trusted us to run their sales to feel less stressed out when we step in.
Many of our customers come week after week because they love our sales and we always try to go above and beyond to make sure that they know we appreciate them. We provide shoppers with a family friendly and fun weekend activity where they can scoop up great items at fair prices. We want customers to be thrilled with their purchases when they walk out of the door.
We are Orange County Living Wage Certified. That means that our staff all make $15 / hour. That hourly rate our team earns goes to support teachers trying to make extra money on the weekend, moms that can only work during the school hours and college students who have limited availability. Our schedule allows our team to earn money for things they really need; whether it's textbooks to finish their degree to groceries to feed their family. By supporting Tobacco Road Downsizing, you're also supporting them.
At the end of the day, our mantra is: Treat other people the way that you want to be treated. Which is above and beyond. We hope that we can uphold that for everyone that is involved in a Tobacco Road Downsizing tag sale.
We'd like to thank Danielle for submitting this question! She now has a $25 gift card to use at our sales! Want to snag a $25 gift card for yourself? It's easy! You can email us, Instagram us, Facebook us or tell us at one of our sales your blog post suggestion! If we use your idea, we'll send you some spending money!