Today’s Small Business Spotlight is all about one of the most eclectic, most rad, most time-warping furniture stores in all of the Maryland Burbs: Peg Leg Vintage. Owned and managed by husband and wife duo Chad and Krisi Hora, Peg Leg Vintage has been serving the DMV impeccably pristine Mid-Century Modern furniture and knick knacks for over three and a half years now. I sat down with Chad and Krisi to learn more about how they run a successful Mid-Century furniture store.
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
Prior to opening Peg Leg, finding and collecting vintage furnishings and decor was more than just a hobby for us–it was an obsession. Our free time has always revolved around picking through antique malls, thrift stores, estate sales, and online, trying to find unique vintage items for us and our friends.
As any “picker” knows, there are some side-effects to this. One of those is known as “empty-hands syndrome.” When the picking adrenaline is flowing and you’re excited about finding something great in whichever honey-hole you’ve stumbled into, it’s hard to walk out of there with empty hands! So, we ended up procuring things that we didn’t really need and it started piling up… HOWEVER, in our defense, these were all great items that we rescued from certain doom, so we viewed our pile of stuff as an extremely noble pile of stuff!
Now, when one is confronted with a noble pile of rare, hard-to-find vintage items that is encroaching on their everyday lives, one must make a choice. Our choice was to find new homes for it. It started as a small online venture, which worked out very well. In short time, we decided to make the leap and open a retail storefront, drawing from our previous professional experiences in retail, design, management, logistics, and repair.
Why do you love doing business here in College Park, Maryland?
Before we opened Peg Leg, we had become very familiar with the entire D.C. metro area as we searched every nook and cranny for vintage items. We also did a lot of market research across the entire metro area soon after we decided to open the store. There are so many great communities around here, but retail storefronts are tricky. There’s a lot to consider.
Ultimately, we decided to bring true meaning to the “local business” label. We not only have a store in College Park, but we are residents as well! While we always felt like College Park and Prince George’s County had a lot of potential, we also felt like they were lacking in some ways. As consumers and residents, we struggled to find a broad range of local businesses to support and commiserated with other residents who felt the same way.
From day one, we’ve been humbled by the support from patrons across the entire metro area, but there’s been an extraordinary outpouring of support from so many College Park and Prince George’s County residents. Additionally, the location has proved to be sustainable from a business perspective and the local governments are supportive and easy to work with. College Park is on the uptick with lots of good development happening. We support that and are very happy to be here.
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
We both cut our teeth in an old-school, Main Street-style retail environment. In keeping with the vintage theme of our business, we thought it best to recreate that environment at Peg Leg. The number one rule in retail is to listen to your customers. We try to do that without exception. We strive to keep our customers happy, and the feedback is usually positive.
Our space is small, we sell a lot of furniture, and most of the things we sell need to be repaired and/or refinished before they’re ready to sell. It can be a struggle to keep the store filled with a wide variety of items available at all price points. Based on customer feedback, however, we’ve learned to make that an even greater priority. We want everyone to be able to shop at Peg Leg, so we’re doing everything we can to make that possible!
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
Make your customers your first priority…ALWAYS. Treat everyone who walks in the door as if they are the best customer you’ve ever had, without exception. Listen to them and remember them. They’ll almost certainly remember you, so make it a good memory!
Behind every business is a great story. Download the Yelp mobile app to find more great local business in College Park, Maryland. Business owners, share your story on your Yelp listing by using the free tools at biz.yelp.com.