Buy Your Kids a Job? See How One Couple is Securing Their Family’s Future in Tough Economic Times

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Five months after opening their first Dollar Store, Orlando Couple plans to open Dollar Stores for each of their three kids. Discount Retail Store Services interviewed them.

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Woodrow and Silvia Wills had dreamed of opening their own Dollar Store for a long time, but between working full time and three kids, they were never able to pursue that dream. When the company that Silvia was working for was sold she lost her job, and according to Silvia, fate intervened.

They began researching the process extensively, starting with Google, finding out more about starting a business and different companies that specialize in franchising, “We looked at a lot of other services that do the same thing, but the quality just wasn’t there. A lot of companies could help us build it out and also franchise and we weighed the options and we decided we wanted to go this way and be privately owned, family owned.” There were no obligations to start, which gave them a lot of confidence at the beginning of the process Silvia says.

They also liked the idea of owning the store outright, without franchise fees. This is something they only found with Dollar Store Services. “When you have a franchise it’s not really controlled by you. This is just us, it’s our brand. We plan to own three stores. This is the first of three,” Woodrow added.

Location was another major concern, but the Realty Team at Dollar Store Services helped them find the perfect spot. “We looked all around Orlando and neighboring communities, and we passed by this place a couple times, and we said we need to go in here and find out—it was such a nice area we just knew it was going to be way out of the ballpark for us, right in the middle of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. Dollar Store Services sent out a prospectus, did all the negotiating, got the best rate, and free rent.”

Even though opening a store like this had always been a dream of theirs, Woodrow and Silvia Wills had no experience in retail. Training was a huge concern, but again they received all the training they needed from their business development partner. “The training was awesome. It was three days. It’s not a long time but it was so much information power packed into there that when you leave feel like ‘yeah, I can do this’.”

With the lease signed and their training a huge success Woodrow and Silvia were raring to go, but they still needed items to sell. This is often one of the most difficult parts of the retail business but with suppliers already in place Dollar Store Services made it easy. “We looked at a lot of other stores that do the same thing and the quality just wasn’t there. We get so many people that come in and the first things they say is ‘wow this is awesome’ and it’s all because we took (Dollar Store Services) advice.”

Woodrow and Silvia Will’s Dollar Store in Orlando has been incredibly successful. “We are considering other concepts but there’s another Dollar Store for sure that we have to open and that’s going to be next year. This is helping the community where we are, but this next one is going to help a more needy and deserving community. It’s a low income area and they have to travel four or five miles away to get milk and eggs and things like that. This is going to bring a lot of things right to their doorstep.”

Providing for their family was one of their primary goals when they began, “Our original goal was to open three dollar stores, we have three daughters, so we wanted to open a store for each daughter, and recently we’ve been thinking about opening a teen store. So we want to diversify a little bit, but the goal is three Dollar Stores over the next two years.”

It’s not just Woodrow and Silva working at the shop. Their nine-year old granddaughter loves to come in after school and work the cash register now and then for fun. “She can actually run the cash register, it’s an easy thing. A customer might come in and I’ll want to help but they’ll be like ‘no, let her do it.’ It’s fun, and she’s also learning.”

In this economy it is hard carving out a living for the family. During the video interview Woodrow wanted to say to anyone watching, “There might be someone watching this video and you may be feeling like, I can’t do this, I’m not smart enough, I’m not educated enough, I don’t have enough money. If you have that burning desire to do something and to have something for your family, you’ve got to step out. Just do it.”

View more of Woodrow and Silvia’s Story here.

Discount Retail Store Services is a business development company that has assisted nearly 3000 people in starting their own business since 1995. They specialize in Dollar Stores, Mailbox Stores, Teen Stores, $10 Clothing Stores, Party Stores, and Fitness Centers.

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David Heintzelman
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