Today we’d like to introduce you to Christy Wood.
Hi Christy, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I am a California native who came to North Carolina in 2004 on a wing and prayer. After a long career in the sales and marketing arena, I moved to North Carolina to create a different life for my family. I worked in retail development for Nascar’s corporate office in downtown Charlotte for the first two years in the State. I was eager to create a business where I would have the flexibility while my children were young and still in school. I longed to make a difference in my life and others.
In 2006 with $300 in my bank account, I gave my 2 weeks notice to Nascar and opened a small Plus-Sized Clothing Consignment Store called CJ’s Second Helpings. It was an immediate success, but I wanted to do more. That Entrepreneurial spirit was strong in me, and I quickly set out to open a place where other small businesses could sell their items and help their families. The Marketplace was born. Over the next 16 years, I have grown The Marketplace from 15 vendors selling their wares to 100 vendors offering a wide variety of Antiques, Vintage, Mid-century, Hand-Crafted, Boutique Clothing, Vinyl, Collectibles, and more.
This journey has been amazing. The community has blessed my business, and I am truly grateful to be a part of Stanly County. Just recently, I was able to purchase a 30,000-square-foot building and move all the vendors into some fabulous new digs!. With this new building, I can also have a full studio where I offer DIY and Craft classes to the community and expand our services to include complete estate liquidation services for residences and businesses. We do a little bit of everything here at the Marketplace. We say we are a “destination,” not just a store. Our vendors and customers are families. They have been with us for a long time.
Sometimes I stand in my business at closing time when things are quiet and pinch myself because all my dreams have come true.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
Struggles. A lot of struggles. The first is a fish out of water. Coming from California into the South was not an easy transition. It took a while for people to get to know me and realize that I could be an asset to their community. I am also a life-out-loud personality, so our small town here in Albemarle was in for someone who never took no for an answer. I like to say I clawed my way into the hearts of the southern people.
Another struggle was money. There was never enough in the beginning. I spent many years doing side work on eBay to pay my bills and make it one more month. I was determined to make my business a success and do it on my own. For 16 years, I only had one small loan to help get by. I worked until 11 pm, sometimes feeding my kids dinner at the store and doing homework with them in between putting things on eBay to make that extra money. It all has paid off in the end.
Another struggle was my lack of knowledge of the antiques/vintage world. I quickly friended an auctioneer in town and worked closely with him to learn all I could about the antiquing world. I joined groups, read books, and met many people in our community to learn all I could to create authenticity and credibility in my business.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I do a lot of fun and exciting things in a day. I own and run a very successful mall and spend a lot of my time “creating.” Creating means, I am coming up with ideas to market the business on social media or using in-person events to bring people together to enjoy our business. This is where we are a “Destination” and not just an old stuffy antique mall. There are not a lot of antique malls like us. We are all about making your experience fabulous. We offer 7 days a week opening hours, a great county store filled with Amish jams, jellies, and jarred items, and a fun space filled with vintage candies from yesteryear. And, of course, 100 fabulous vendors with the best items for all ages.
We also offer a place to come and be creative in our studio space. We host great paint and pour parties, kids’ craft workshops, and community paint times to unwind and tap into your creative side. We host Old Car Hops, Outdoor Markets, Fall & Spring festivals, and more on the weekends. A few times a year, we have storewide sales with all the vendors. You truly can find something for everyone at The Marketplace.
What characteristic of yours would you give the most credit if you had to?
Determination! I was determined to create a space in this world to bring people joy. That is what I do every day. Anyone can walk through my doors and find something to make them smile. Our vendors are the best. I hand-picked them to bring YOU all the things that make you remember yesterday or add to your decor today. I am in the business of creating a happy feeling. Our mall does that for everyone old and young.
- Website: www.thealbemarlemarketplace.com
- Instagram: @thealbmarketplace
- Facebook: @thealbmarletplace