Turning a hobby into a business venture can be a bit of a risk.
But for Howard Crowell and Rebecca Hughes, it’s a gamble that appears to be paying off.
“It became like eating peanuts,” Crowell said of the couple’s fascination with garage sales and the hunt for intriguing antiques. “We just couldn’t stop.”
So with a household full of collectibles and a downturn in the local construction and remodel industry, Crowell’s longstanding occupation, they decided the time was right to parlay the fruits of what had been a leisure activity into a commercial enterprise.
In December, they opened “Howard’s Sell It Again” in the business park on Tucker Avenue, a consignment store which at first specialized in “gently used” sailing, boating and marine equipment. Crowell says he remains a “sailor at heart”.
But then they jumped at the chance to move the shop and its growing inventory of antiques to a more visually prominent location when Windermere Realty moved out of its former ground floor offices at the intersection of Spring and First streets.
They reopened in a portion of that space in May, and then in September expanded into the entire ground floor area. With assorted items from as many as 268 consignment clients in stock, the larger space has quickly fill up with an array of inventory.
“We have thousands and thousands of items on hand,” Crowell noted.
Inside the shop, “Howard’s” also hosts two smaller consignment enterprises, one specializing in vintage toys and the other featuring high-value antiques.
“We’ve got a lot good inventory and good prices to go along with it,” said Hughes, who remains gainfully employed in the real estate and vacation rental insdustry while helping to run the shop. “And this is a perfect spot for ‘retail therapy’.”
While the store has become a full-fledged enterprise, Crowelll said he’s still maintaining his construction and remodel business, and after 20-plus years on the island, feels even more like an islander.
“I feel like everybody else on the island now that I have three jobs,” he said.
Howard’s Sell It Again is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday, and will be open seven days a week beginning in December, for the holidays.
For info: 317-8421