Crafting a new business in Craig

Advertisement

When Tammy and Melody Villard married brothers, they had no idea that they would become more than sisters-in-law.

Now they're business partner who co-own Villard Bertique, a craft and antique store on East Victory Way.

Melody said she'd been making crafts for a long time and Tammy had a habit of fixing up antiques.

Their husbands' uncle Bert died, and his house was empty for eight months because the families did not want to sell or rent it. At the same time, Melody was struggling to sell her crafts.

Then she put the two together and realized the ideal situation for her. She and Tammy decided to go into business together.

They started their application last February and remodeled the older home through April and May.

"That was our most expensive part, the remodel," Melody said.

They stripped the floors, put up new walls and did a lot of painting. They finished it all, got set up and opened their doors June 1.

The nice part about the location, the women said, is not having to pay rent. They also found another way to bring down their overhead costs.

Melody realized she did not have enough products to fill an entire store and figured many others like her were in the area.

So the store features crafts items made by a variety of vendors from the Yampa Valley, ranging from candles to clothes to antique stoves.

The Villards charge outside vendors $25 a month plus 10 percent commission to sell their items at the Bertique.

"Our biggest sellers monthly are the candles and the soaps," Melody said.

The women have decorated each room in the house, including the kitchen and bathroom, with items for sale.

The shop has a cozy feel as shoppers enter, and there are many items to pick up and smell along the trip through the store.

It's hard to get shoppers there, though, the women said. They spent a large sum on advertising when the store opened.

"It's just getting people to know we're out here," Melody said. "When you're new they've got to know where you're at."

The store is open seven days a week and until 6 p.m. on weekdays, which Melody said gives customers a chance to travel to the store after work.

The women also have devised a program that they hope will attract a different kind of customer.

They have a service that allows customers to sign up to remember anniversaries, birthdays and other holidays.

They will get a phone call as a reminder, and the owners are more than happy to suggest a few gift ideas.

"Men are the ones who usually forget," Melody said. "But the service is for anyone."

Melody said some women have made wish lists of items in the store, and husbands shop from that.

Villard Bertique also offers a nearly unlimited variety of baskets, ranging between $5 and $500, which are delivered free anywhere in Craig.

The women share responsibilities at the shop, each working half the time the store is open.

And they usually have some extra helpers.

"We bring our kids to work with us now," Tammy said.

Both women are pregnant, and Melody is due any minute, which the owners say may throw a wrench into their business plans temporarily.

But overall, the women have been pleased with the response from the community.

"We've done really well so far," Tammy said.

"And we've gotten a lot of good word-of-mouth too."

The store, 2435 E. Victory Way, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, contact Villard Bertique at 826-9773 or villardbertique@msn.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.