There is no telling what “Simply Marvelous” thing will show up in Ivy Ulland’s so-named store in Burlington, where you can pick out a card and a gift or outfit your home.
Ulland said that is the beauty of owning a store that features a mix of new and consignment items, as well as local artisan pieces. Many of the items are unique and the merchandise is ever-changing.
“What doesn’t change is the quality,” said Ulland, who opened the store four years ago.
This is nothing like your average used furniture or thrift store. Ulland, who spent 10 years as a sales representative in the gift industry, doesn’t accept just anything.
“I am particular about the items I select,” she said. “If I’m putting it up against a new piece, it has to hold its own.”
Much of the 5,000-sqare-foot space is dedicated to new and consignment home decor and furniture. From farmhouse, cottage and rustic lodge to traditional, casual and contemporary, there is something for every taste.
But, the store also has a variety of gift items, ranging from scarves, jewelry and purses, to heirloom-quality children’s toys, candles and candies.
Ulland, 41, said her experience as a wholesale consultant in the southern half of Wisconsin gave her insight into what people are looking for.
“In my travels, I saw the consignment trend growing,” she said. “I thought I might like to try this and always kept the idea in the back of my mind.”
Then, the company she worked for merged and started letting people go.
“At the time, I was a single mom and I thought, ‘Boy, I better get ready. What am I going to do?’” she recalled. “Then, that call came. I looked for jobs. But, everyone was looking for jobs.
“I had a little bit — and I mean a little bit — saved. I decided to take the plunge and try this. I was basically creating a job for myself.”
At first, Ulland planned to have a store completely dedicated to consignment items. But she couldn’t overlook some of the new pieces — especially those crafted in the United States — that she knew people would like.
“I wanted to bring some of these quality items to the area,” she said. “So, there are little touches of new items and pieces from local artists mixed in.”
If she sees a local big box store begins to carry the items she offers, such as a candle brand, she pulls it from her shelf.
“It gives me an opportunity to bring in something else and change things up,” she said.
The store itself is divided into interior room vignettes that allow the pieces to be displayed in a homelike setting. Consigners do not rent booths, rather Ulland pairs their items with other pieces she feels are either complementary or provide juxtaposition.
The only new line of furniture she carries — Rustic Ridge — is made in Wisconsin and features more than 100 fabric choices.
While Ulland has found success in the strip mall where the store is located, other stores have folded in recent years. Kmart, which drew a lot of traffic to the center, was the largest to close.
“Since I’ve been here, we have lost five businesses in the mall,” Ulland said, adding she has no plans to move.
She said she has hope that the shopping center will rebound. The big box space at the other end of the strip mall, once a supermarket, is now a Dunham’s sporting goods store.